And what about the right of the slaves to govern themselves?
“Our position is thoroughly identified with the institution of slavery…” – A Declaration of the Immediate Causes which Induce and Justify the Secession of the State of Mississippi from the Federal Union
“We hold as undeniable truths…That in this free government all white men are and of right ought to be entitled to equal civil and political rights; that the servitude of the African race, as existing in these States, is mutually beneficial to both bond and free, and is abundantly authorized and justified by the experience of mankind, and the revealed will of the Almighty Creator, as recognized by all Christian nations…” – A Declaration of the Causes which Impel the State of Texas to Secede from the Federal Union
“The prevailing ideas entertained by [Jefferson] and most of the leading statesmen at the time of the formation of the old constitution, were that the enslavement of the African was in violation of the laws of nature; that it was wrong in principle, socially, morally, and politically…Our new government is founded upon exactly the opposite idea; its foundations are laid, its cornerstone rests upon the great truth, that the negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery – subordination to the superior race – is his natural and normal condition.” – Alexander H. Stephens, Vice President of the Confederate States of America
“No bill of attainder, ex post facto law, or law denying or impairing the right of property in negro slaves shall be passed.” – The Constitution of the Confederate States of America
If slavery is the “whitewash to cover the real reasons for the war”, it appears to have been the Confederates who were doing a good bit of the covering. “Yeah, let’s claim we’re building a new nation and risking a war for slavery, because we don’t dare let everyone know our real reasons.” (Which I presume must have been a desire to stomp kittens or something like that, if slavery was the whitewash the Confederates were slapping over their “real” motivations.) Of course, when the Confederates weren’t being excessively frank, they did have plenty of whitewashes (“states’ rights”, “the Southern ‘way of life’”) to cover over their real motive, which was the preservation of slavery.