The cause of the Civil War was the increasing separation culturally, politically, religiously, and morally between a culture that had rejected slavery and one that embraced it. The South demanded their right to own slaves be respected everywhere, a position decent human beings found morally repugnant. They rejected the most basic principles of the Declaration of Independence and of the Constitution. Southern leaders and their secession statements also listed the perpetuation of slavery as the major reason for their leaving and its expansion into other places they planned to conquer, like Cuba and Mexico, as one of the advantages of doing so.
Anyone who denies this is either ignorant or a liar, as even the smallest attempt to read secession statements of the time or speeches like the Confederacy’s Vice President Alexander Stephens’ “Cornerstone speech” demonstrates.
A case can be made that the South should have been allowed to leave. However, no moral case can be made for any American to honor the traitors responsible, and doing so is a slap in the face of the hundreds of thousands of good Americans killed in the war that followed.
The problem here is not erasing history, but the over 100 years of bad Americans honoring the traitors and murderers responsible for the war. The first shots were fired by slavers, after all. A policy of peaceful resistance by the South would likely have brought them independence, for good or ill. But nonviolence is not a value for those defending parasitizing their fellow human beings.
Germans remember their history without statues honoring Hitler, Goebbels, Goering, and the like. It is time we did the same regarding the Confederacy’s role in ours.