Modified version of comments that I posted to a friend's Facebook page.

I truly believe that the South would have abolished slavery anyway and integrated faster on its own terms.

There was little reason for the defeated South to make it easy for integration to take place. I'm not surprised that it took as long as it did and that racial demagogues are using the unfortunate past to foster new racism. You can drag the horse to the well but you can't make it drink.

Civil War or not, I see no reason to believe that Southern slavery would have survived into the 20th century. By the end of the 19th century, slavery was widely legal only in Africa and the Middle East. Do you seriously expect me to believe that South would embrace the embarrassing position of being the only people in the West who still allowed slavery? Or that the rest of the Western world would let them? The United States and other Western nations could have easily imposed a trade embargo on the Confederacy. "As long as you allow slavery to continue, we won't buy your products and we will boycott your ports."

I also fail to see how slavery could have survived into the industrial era. The plantations didn't convert into manufacturers. By continuing to embrace agrarian slavery, the South would both fail to compete with the North on manufacturing and would lose international markets to the North.

Now let's address how the war crippled the civil rights movement. I'm not surprised that a defeated South would resist the North's efforts to drag it into integration. The post-war South was filled with a lot of bitter racists who didn't practice the Christianity that they preached. Eventually, they died off and better people took their place. Unfortunately, the damage that the war caused is still evident on both sides of the Mason-Dixon line. And despite having blacks in the White House, Congress, the Supreme Court, and the upper tiers of the Forbes 400, we also have Northern racists who are still waging the Civil War against the ghosts of the past (and, unfortunately, winning frequently).

If the war had never taken place and the South had been left alone, it would have integrated on its own terms. The South would have abolished slavery when it was ready to and transitioned to a post-slavery economy. By evolving on its own terms, the new South would have integrated blacks into its society. I disagree that the KKK and its ilk would have flourished in a warless South because there would have been no reason for whites to resent blacks.

In closing, I see no reason to believe that either a victorious Confederacy or a warless Confederacy would have perpetrated slavery and apartheid through the 20th century. Such suggestion is largely projection of the reality of the defeated Confederacy onto those situations.

In closing, I'll defend the modern South against the modern North on racial tolerance any day. Southerners are more genuine about how they feel about race. At least our racists aren't afraid to say it. Northerners, on the other hand, pay a lot of lip service to racial harmony, but practice very little of what they preach.