During that time, there wasn't a United States of America as we know it is today. There was the North...and then their was the South. Technically, the south was defending their country. They wanted to keep their way of life as it was. They were protecting themselves from "terrorists". They didn't want to join the two regions. For blacks, the confederate flag holds a way of life of fear and hate and is a constant reminder of slavery and racism. Is it wrong...is it right...depends on who you are talking. Honestly, as someone who grew up in the South, whenever I would see the flag flying over someone's doorstep...it would shaken me, its frightening, even in 2008.
The north didn't come to the south to "free the slaves". It wasn't because the north was SO AGAINST the idea of free labor that they decided to wage a war. It was about money, land, and power. Ultimately, what southern confederate's were fighting for also.