Certainly it was slavery for the politicians and the wealthy planters. The common man and the youth paid the price.
It's hard to see the war portrayed by some today, as only about white supremacy, KKK etc.
But instead the South actively sought to perpetuate psuedo-slavery and segregation for another century. They embraced the Lost Cause and the KKK took up the CBF. And we still reap the whirlwind.