- The antebellum era and the Confederacy are portrayed in a tragic light, with some flaws made evident but others ignored. In the novel, the KKK is described as a meeting of half-baked fools who want to relive the war, and Rhett argues to them that they are only making their situation worse, while Rhett and Ashley manage to disband the Atlanta wing of the KKK pretty quickly. Ashley is repeatedly portrayed as out of touch for wanting to relive the beautiful parts of the old days, while pretending the bad parts didn't exist. Still it is deeply racist and gives a view of history now discredited: Scarlett's servants refer to blacks who would rather be free as "trash", and it's looked at as heroic when a black man is killed for so much as insulting a white person. Entire chapters are devoted to describing how free blacks are "tricked" into believing they're equal with whites and should be allowed to vote and sleep with white women. The post-war South is presented as a kind of lawless Badlands where white women are in danger of being raped in the street and the North would throw anyone who protested into jail. (Not entirely false, but it gives a distorted image of the overall situation.) There's horror at the very idea that a well-bred white Southerner should work and that a black person wouldn't want to.
- Also Rhett's marital rape of Scarlett, which was seen at least as much less severe back then.
- This passage from the book:
[Scarlett] didnít care for the eager competition furnished by the 16-year-old [girls seeking husbands], whose fresh cheeks and bright smiles made one forget their twice-turned frocks and patched shoes. Her own clothes were prettier and newer than most, ... but after all, she was 19, and getting along.