Formation of the Confederacy

Formation of the Confederacy

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In February 1861, representatives from the seven seceded states met in Montgomery, Alabama to found the Confederate States of America. Notable changes included:

  • A single-term executive with a 6-year term
  • A presidential item veto
  • A role for cabinet officials in congressional debates
  • A prohibition of protective tariffs and federal funding for internal improvements.

The unicameral legislature with active participation by cabinet members blends some aspects of the British House of Commons with the U.S. Congress. It's interesting to note that the international trade in slaves was prohibited, although naturally the right to own slaves within the Confederacy was maintained.Various candidates for the position of president of the Confederacy emerged. William Yancey of Alabama was well qualified but the border states regarded him as too radical. Robert Toombs of Georgia was held back by his tendency towards intemperate speech. The ultimate choice was Jefferson Davis of Mississippi, a politician, planter, and war hero.For vice-president, the Confederate Congress picked Senator Alexander Stephens of Georgia. This was not a fortunate choice, as Stephens wanted to be president and, failing that, spent the war years looking for a way out of it.

About this Collection

The records of the Confederate States of America span the years 1854-1889, with the bulk of the material concentrated in the period 1861-1865, during the Civil War in America. The collection relates to the formation of the government of the Confederacy and the conduct of its internal, external, and military affairs. With few exceptions, the collection consists of official or semiofficial records generated by departments of the Confederate government and their agents. The departments of state, justice, treasury, navy, war, and the post office are represented, along with material relating to the president, congress, and constitution. The collection is arranged in eleven series.

Most numerous are the records of the Department of State (once known as the &ldquoPickett Papers&rdquo) containing correspondence exchanged for most of the period between Secretary of State Judah P. Benjamin and departmental agents and diplomats abroad, particularly those stationed in Belgium, France, Great Britain, and Mexico. The records are supplemented by the inclusion of the James Wolcott Wadsworth Collection of similar material. Other records of the department relate to administrative and financial affairs, passports, pardons, appointments to office, applications for office, and maritime and domestic affairs of the Confederacy.

The records of the treasury and post office departments are chiefly concerned with subordinate offices. The records of the War Department contain early correspondence of the secretary of war, general orders, strength returns, muster rolls, and quartermaster records. Justice Department material consists of records of Confederate courts in Alabama, Louisiana, and Mississippi. Proclamations, messages, and other papers of President Jefferson Davis, acts and resolutions of the Confederate congress, material relating to the constitution and secession, and miscellaneous items complete the collection. A Miscellany series includes documents relating to the state governments of Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia, printed and published material covering the statues and proclamations of the Confederate government, and blank official forms.

Much of the material in the War Department series was received in 1921 from descendants of Confederate officers. The Additions series consists of several miscellaneous groups of records formerly organized under separate headings. The material consists chiefly of Confederate financial bonds.

Correspondence of many of the leading officials of the Confederate States of America appears in the records. In addition to the dominant figure, Secretary of State Judah P. Benjamin, other correspondents include Bolling Baker, G. T. Beauregard, Clement C. Clay, Lewis Conger, Jefferson Davis, Edwin DeLeon, Anthony J. Guirot, Charles J. Helm, Lewis Heyliger, Henry Hotze, L. Q. C. Lamar, A. Dudley Mann, James M. Mason, Christopher G. Memminger, John T. Pickett, John A. Quintero, John H. Reagan, Raphael Semmes, John Slidell, Alexander Hamilton Stephens, Jacob Thompson, William H. Trescott, LeRoy P. Walker, and William Lowndes Yancey.

Confederacy: Formation of the Government

South Carolina, the first Southern state to secede (Dec. 20, 1860) after the election of the Republican President Abraham Lincoln, was soon followed out of the Union by six more states—Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, and Texas. On Feb. 4, 1861, delegates from these states (except the Texans, who were delayed) met at Montgomery, Ala., and organized a provisional government. The convention passed over the radical secessionists R. B. Rhett and W. L. Yancey and elected (Feb. 9) Jefferson Davis of Mississippi and Alexander H. Stephens of Georgia president and vice president respectively. The convention also drafted a constitution (adopted on Mar. 11) and functioned as a provisional legislature pending regular elections.

The constitution closely resembled the Constitution of the United States, even repeating much of its language, but naturally had states' rights provisions. Slavery was recognized and protected, but the importation of slaves from any foreign country other than the slave-holding States or Territories of the United States of America was prohibited. The general welfare clause of the old Constitution was omitted, protective tariffs were forbidden, and for most appropriations a two-thirds vote of congress was required. There were other, less important, departures from the U.S. Constitution, e.g., the president and vice president were to be elected for six years, but the president was not reeligible members of the president's cabinet might be granted seats in either house of the Confederate congress to discuss legislation affecting their departments and amendment to the constitution (by two thirds of the states, with congress having no voice) was made easier.

The new government seized or pressed its claims for U.S. property within its domain, especially forts and arsenals, and, when the Union declined to surrender Fort Sumter, ordered the firing (Apr. 12–13) that formally began the hostilities. Lincoln's immediate call for troops brought four more Southern states—Arkansas, North Carolina, Virginia, and Tennessee—into the Confederacy, which now comprised 11 states. The border slave states of Maryland, Kentucky, and Missouri remained in the Union although they contained many Southern sympathizers Confederate state governments were established at Neosho, Mo., and Russellville, Ky., in opposition to the official governments. In May it was decided to transfer the capital from Montgomery to Richmond, Va., because of Virginia's prestige that move, considering Richmond's proximity to the North, has generally been regarded as a serious mistake.

The new constitution was ratified (the approval of only five states was needed), general elections for congress and for presidential electors (as under the federal Constitution) were held in Nov., 1861, and on Washington's birthday in 1862, the permanent government was inaugurated at Richmond. Davis and Stephens had been chosen without opposition to head it. Judah P. Benjamin, successively attorney general, secretary of war, and secretary of state, was the most important figure in Davis's cabinet. Only two other men remained in the cabinet for its entire brief existence—Stephen R. Mallory, secretary of the navy, and John H. Reagan, postmaster general.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

Share Formation of West Virginia

The creation of West Virginia was an outcome of the Civil War. Statehood was preceded by decades of sectional conflict between leaders of eastern and western Virginia, but sectionalism was a staple of politics in many other states (and still is in many places, including modern West Virginia). But while other states saw occasional calls for ‘‘dismemberment,’’ only one—Virginia—actually split. East Tennessee, Western North Carolina, and North Georgia remained geographical expressions. West Virginia became the name of a state.

The process of West Virginia’s formation was shaped by both the war’s political and military contexts. Politically, the election of Abraham Lincoln, followed by the secession of seven Deep South states to form a southern Confederacy, precipitated a crisis in Virginia. A special convention sitting in Richmond to consider the issue seemed at first to favor keeping Virginia in the Union, but when Confederates attacked Fort Sumter on April 12, 1861, and President Lincoln called on the states for volunteers to suppress the rebellion, the Richmond Convention approved secession by a vote of 88 to 55, with delegates from counties later included in West Virginia casting 28 of the negative votes. In theory secession would not take effect until voters had ratified it in the regular spring election on May 23, but Virginia authorities began acting as though the matter were settled. State officials called county militias into state service on May 1 and directed them to gather at key railroad junctions, such as Grafton. Most local authorities, even in Western Virginia, went along with these actions, though in effect they made Virginia the ally of a Confederacy that it had not yet formally joined. The exception was in the Wheeling area, where local government continued to function and young men left the state militia to form companies of Union volunteers.

Unionist leaders rallied in Clarksburg on April 22, 1861, and summoned their own convention to meet in Wheeling on May 13. Initially, they concentrated on defeating the Virginia secession ordinance at the polls. When this failed, they debated other options. Meanwhile, federal troops crossed the Ohio River and joined with Unionist Virginia volunteers to push Confederate forces back from Grafton and eventually, at the Battle of Rich Mountain on July 11, from the entire northwest corner of the state. A parallel invasion in the Kanawha Valley shortly followed. The swift Union conquest gave pro-Union politicians a safe place to deliberate, in contrast to East Tennessee, where despite a large Unionist majority activists were by this time going underground or fleeing northward for their lives.

A Second Wheeling Convention met in June 1861 to consider Western Virginia’s options. Some leaders wanted to proceed directly to the formation of a new state others thought it unwise to take such a step during wartime. A third group led by Waitman T. Willey of Morgantown effected a compromise whereby the Unionist remnant of Virginia’s government was reconstituted as a ‘‘loyal’’ or ‘‘restored’’ state government, complete with governor, legislature, and representation in Congress. Key members of the Lincoln administration indicated their approval of this strategy, but sent ambiguous signals about the notion of a new state.

Nevertheless, a majority led by Willey decided to follow the complicated procedures that the U.S. Constitution requires for the formation of a new state out of the territory of another. While the Unionist Reorganized Government of Virginia under Governor Francis H. Pierpont worked to raise troops and to restore local government, the Second Wheeling Convention approved a ‘‘dismemberment ordinance’’ in August. It provided for a new state called ‘‘Kanawha’’ consisting of 39 counties extending from the Kanawha Valley north and east to Randolph, Tucker and Preston counties.

In November 1861, a third convention assembled in Wheeling to write a constitution for the new state. This convention changed the name to West Virginia and added five more counties in December and another four in April 1862, even though some of the additions, which form the present border with Virginia, were still under Confederate control. In May the Reorganized Virginia legislature gave dismemberment its approval, as did the U.S. Congress after the Constitutional Convention took steps to abolish slavery within the borders of the state.

President Lincoln’s cabinet divided evenly on the issue of West Virginia statehood, with Attorney General Edward Bates leading the opposition while Treasury Secretary Salmon P. Chase defended the process as both constitutional and politically wise. Finally, on December 31, 1862, Lincoln decided in favor of statehood.

Countering the argument that relatively few voters had participated in the referenda that punctuated various steps of the statehood process, Lincoln pointed out that it was customary everywhere ‘‘to give no legal consideration whatever to those who do not choose to vote,’’ for whatever reason. ‘‘The division of a state is dreaded as a precedent,’’ he added. ‘‘But a measure made expedient by a war, is no precedent for times of peace. It is said the admission of West Virginia is secession, and tolerated only because it is our secession. Well, if we can call it by that name, there is still difference enough between secession against the Constitution, and secession in favor of the Constitution.’’ Following the ratification of West Virginia’s anti-slavery amendment, in April Lincoln proclaimed West Virginia ready to take its place in the Union, which it did on June 20, 1863. Two additional counties (Berkeley and Jefferson) were transferred to the new state later that year.

The new state was constructed from blocks of counties, preserving the established borders with Kentucky, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Maryland and creating a new border with Virginia based on existing county lines. Thus, while sectional differences and mountain barriers were often cited to justify the dismemberment, in fact the new border cut diagonally across geographical features in many places and followed the dividing ridge between eastern and western rivers for only 75 miles out of 400. Nevertheless, this was the only permanent boundary change to result from the Civil War.

Last Revised on October 14, 2013

Formation of the Confederacy - History

When Abraham Lincoln campaigned for his presidential election, an essential element of his platform was a pro-abolitionist stance. In other words, that slavery should cease to expand. The election was held in late 1860, and Lincoln was voted in as president however, he did not begin serving as president until March 1861.

On this day February 8 th , in 1861, 11 Southern states form the Confederate States of America. The formation of the Confederate States was a response to Lincoln’s winning the presidential election, and Jefferson Davis became the president of the Confederate States. The core issue was whether slavery would be allowed or not in the United States. The 11 Southern states led by General Robert E. Lee were pro-slavery, and the much larger 25 Northern states led by Ulysses S. Grant were pro-abolition.

It was not until January 1 st , in 1863, when Lincoln published the Proclamation of Emancipation, that the North truly took its stance freeing all slaves. Up until then the Southern states would have been allowed to retain the slaves they had. The conflict sprung from the slavery policy of the new states inducted into the union, like Kansas (Bleeding Kansas). Post Civil War, in December of 1865, slavery was made illegal by the 13 th Amendment of the American Constitution.

States’ Rights

To insure the rights of the individual states would take precedence over the power of the central government, the Confederate government could not levy protective tariffs direct and capitation taxes and taxes on exports were restricted. The ability to make internal improvements was limited to matters regarding ports and harbors, lighthouses, and dredging rivers. The government of the Confederacy could not overrule the decisions of state courts. No consensus was ever reached about creating a Supreme Court or what form it would take, so none was ever established.

The states were permitted to maintain their own armies. They were given greater ability to amend the national constitution.

Treason would "consist only in levying war against (the Confederate States), or in adhering to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort."

7 things the United Daughters of the Confederacy might not want you to know about them

By Kali Holloway
Published October 6, 2018 4:59PM (EDT)

(Getty/Enrique Ramos Lopez)


This article was produced by Make It Right, a project of the Independent Media Institute.

It’s helpful, in the midst of any conversation about this country’s Confederate monuments, to understand who put these things up, which also offers a clue as to why. In large part, the answer to the first question is the United Daughters of the Confederacy, a white Southern women’s “heritage” group founded in 1894. Starting 30 years after the Civil War, as historian Karen Cox notes in her 2003 book "Dixie’s Daughters," “UDC members aspired to transform military defeat into a political and cultural victory, where states’ rights and white supremacy remained intact.” In other words, when the Civil War gave them lemons, the UDC made lemonade. Horribly bitter, super racist lemonade.

Though the UDC didn’t invent the Lost Cause ideology, they were deeply involved in spreading the myth, which simultaneously contends the Confederacy wasn’t fighting to keep black people enslaved while also suggesting slavery was pretty good for everyone involved. Lost Causers — plenty of whom exist today, their sheer numbers a reflection of the UDC’s effectiveness — argue that Confederate monuments are just innocent statues that taking them down erases history that we cannot retroactively apply today’s ideas about the morality of slavery to the past. The response to those ridiculous cop-outs is that Confederate monuments honor and glorify people who fought to maintain black chattel slavery that they were erected for the explicit purpose of obfuscating history and that the immorality of slavery was always understood by the enslaved. Excuses, excuses: get better at them.

“In their earliest days, the United Daughters of the Confederacy definitely did some good work on behalf of veterans and in their communities,” says Heidi Christensen, former president of the Seattle, Washington, chapter of the UDC, who left the organization in 2012. “But it’s also true that since the UDC was founded in 1894, it has maintained a covert connection with the Ku Klux Klan. In fact, in many ways, the group was the de facto women’s auxiliary of the KKK at the turn of the century. It’s a connection the group downplays now, but evidence of it is easily discoverable — you don’t even have to look very hard to find it.”

In 2017, after the white nationalist Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, UDC President Patricia M. Bryson posted an open letter claiming the UDC’s members “have spent 123 years honoring [Confederate soldiers] by various activities in the fields of education, history and charity, promoting patriotism and good citizenship,” and that members, “like our statues, have stayed quietly in the background, never engaging in public controversy.” But that isn’t true, not by a stretch. The UDC’s monuments, books, education and political agenda have always spoken loudly—in absolutely deafening shouts — on issues from anti-black racism to the historical memory of the Civil War across the South. Today, a shameful number of Americans don’t think slavery was the primary cause of the Civil War—even though the seceding states literally spelled this out in document form — in part because of the UDC’s campaign of misinformation. The most minor of gains made by blacks during the Reconstruction were obliterated nearly as soon as they were obtained, and the UDC backed that disenfranchisement full stop. Even the current UDC has mostly steadfastly refused — with rare exceptions — to take down Confederate monuments. They know the power of those symbols, both politically and socially, and they aren’t giving an inch, if they can help it.

The UDC have had a huge impact on this country, and to pretend they’ve stood “quietly in the background” would be laughable if it weren’t so insulting. The UDC both trained and became the white women of 1950s massive resistance, who author Elizabeth Gillespie McRae writes did “the daily work on multiple levels . . . needed to sustain racial segregation and to shape resistance to racial equality.” They set a precedent for a huge swath of today’s white women voters whose main political agenda is white supremacy — women who in a 2017 Alabama Senate race backed the alleged pedophilewho wistfully longed for slavery and supported the presidency of a man who brags about grabbing women’s genitals when he’s not shouting his racism from the rafters. They have contributed to the construction of a “white womanhood” that has historically been and currently remains incredibly problematic, rendering “white feminism” eternally suspect. With their impact considered, and signs of their handiwork all over society — even carved indelibly into mountain sides — it seems worth understanding a few things about the UDC both then and now. Here are seven things you should know about the United Daughters of the Confederacy.

1. They published a very pro-KKK book. For children.

In 1914, the in-house historian of the UDC Mississippi chapter, Laura Martin Rose, published "The Ku Klux Klan, or Invisible Empire." It’s essentially a love letter to the original Klan for its handiwork in the field of domestic terror in the years following the Civil War, when blacks achieved a modicum of political power.

“[D]uring the Reconstruction period, sturdy white men of the South, against all odds, maintained white supremacy and secured Caucasian civilization, when its very foundations were threatened within and without,” Rose writes.

She goes on to provide a look at the roots of racist anti-black stereotypes and language in this country, a lot of which is still recognizable in modern right-wing rhetoric. For example, she accuses black people of laziness — and wanting a handout — for refusing to keep working for free for white enslavers, and instead trying to find fortune where the jobs were: “Many negroes conceived the idea that freedom meant cessation from labor, so they left the fields, crowding into the cities and towns, expecting to be fed by the United States Government.”

In one section, with pretty overt delight, Rose highlights the methods the KKK used to terrify black people, including posting notes around towns with the “picture of a figure dangling from the limb of a tree,” and exalts the KKK’s lawless, murderous violence:

“In the courts of this invisible, silent, and mighty government, there were no hung juries, no laws delayed, no reversals, on senseless technicalities by any Supreme Court, because from its Court there was no appeal, and punishment was sure and swift, because there was no executive to pardon. After the negro had surrendered to the Ku Klux Klan, which he did by obeying their orders to the very letter, — for they feared that organization more than the devil and the dark regions, — the Invisible Empire vanished in a night, and has been seen no more by mortal man on this earth.”

To be clear, Rose is here gushing about vast extrajudicial violence committed by the KKK against black people. In 1870, a federal grand jury labeled the KKK a “terrorist organization.” In 1871, a congressional committee was convened specifically to address the issue of Klan violence, and the report based on testimony from those hearings estimated “20,000 to as many as 50,000 people, mostly black, died in violence between 1866 and 1872.”

“This book was unanimously endorsed by the United Daughters of the Confederacy” at its general convention in November 1913, Rose notes, and the group “pledged to endeavor to secure its adoption as a supplementary reader in the schools and to place it in the libraries of our land.”

2. Actually, they published at least two very pro-KKK books. . .

. . .and probably many more. Another UDC ode to the KKK was written by Annie Cooper Burton, then-president of the Los Angeles chapter of the UDC, and published in 1916. Titled "The Ku Klux Klan," much like Rose’s aforementioned book, it argues that the Klan has gotten a bad rap just because they terrorized and intimidated black people, not infrequently assaulting and raping black women, murdering black citizens, and burning down black townships. For these reasons, she suggests, the UDC should do even more to show reverence to the Klan:

“Every clubhouse of the United Daughters of the Confederacy should have a memorial tablet dedicated to the Ku Klux Klan that would be a monument not to one man, but to five hundred and fifty thousand men, to whom all Southerners owe a debt of gratitude.”

By “all Southerners,” Burton clearly means “only white people,” which is also what she means whenever she uses the word “people.”

3. They built a monument to the KKK.

The UDC was busiest during the 1910s and 1920s, two decades during which the group erected hundreds of Confederate monuments that made tangible the racial terror of Jim Crow. This, apparently, the group still considered insufficient to convey their message of white power and to reassert the threat of white violence. So in 1926, the UDC put up a monument to the KKK. In a piece for Facing South, writer Greg Huffman describes a record of the memorial in the UDC’s own 1941 book "North Carolina’s Confederate Monuments and Memorials:"



4. Their most intense efforts focused on the “education” of white children.

Historian Karen Cox, author of 2003’s "Dixie’s Daughters," has written that the UDC’s biggest goal was to indoctrinate white Southern children in the Lost Cause, thus creating “living monuments.”

“They had a multi-pronged approach to doing that,” Cox told me. “It involved going into schools and putting up battle flags and portraits of generals. It meant getting schools renamed for famous Confederates. It was creating the Children of the Confederacy, which was their formal youth auxiliary, so that the UDC could draw membership from the group when they became adults…Children were always involved in the unveiling of monuments. They would select one child to pull the cord, and then there’d be cheers when the monument was unveiled. Children in the stands would form what they called a ‘living battle flag.’ Then they sang Southern patriotic songs.”

Cox has also written about the Confederate catechism, a call-and-response style drill written by a UDC “historian” that posed as a history lesson:

“‘What causes led to the War Between the States, between 1861 and 1865?’ was a typical question. ‘The disregard, on the part of the states of the North, for the rights of the Southern or slaveholding states’ was the answer. ‘What were these rights?’ The answer . . . was ‘the right to regulate their own affairs and to hold slaves as property.’”

AP reporter Allen Breed has noted that the wording of the catechism has been “tweaked over the years,” but the version displayed on the UDC website as recently as August 2018 included this line: “Slaves, for the most part, were faithful and devoted. Most slaves were usually ready and willing to serve their masters.”

5. They’re big fans of black chattel slavery from way back.

The UDC were perhaps the most efficient agents making the ahistorical Lost Cause myth go viral. They did this through a number of methods, the most visually apparent being the 700 monuments exalting people who fought for black chattel slavery that still stand. But also, in the rare cases the UDC has “honored” black people with statuary and monuments, it has been in the form of “loyal slave” markers — an actual subgenre of Confederate monuments — which perpetuate the image of content enslaved blacks and benevolent white enslavers.

In 1923, the UDC tried to erect a monument in Washington, D.C., "in memory of the faithful slave mammies of the South.” The Senate signed off on it, but the idea never came to fruition.

More successful was the UDC’s effort at placing a monument in Harpers Ferry, West Virginia, that plays fast and loose with the biography of Haywood “Heyward” Shepherd (the UDC didn’t even bother to get his first name right), a free black man whom an inscription depicts as a “faithful negro” who chose slaveryover freedom, as all “the best” blacks did.

The UDC was even given a place in Arlington National Cemetery for a Confederate monument that includes a weeping black “mammy” figure holding a white child and an enslaved black man marching alongside his enslaver into battle. The 1914 marker intentionally included the enslaved figure to propagate the idea that black people were willing, eager soldiers for the Confederacy — a suggestion that would mean the war couldn’t have been about slavery, which wasn’t so bad anyway. As historian Kevin Levin has documented at length, that lie has become a neo-Confederate talking pointin a long list of other neo-Confederate lies.

6. They get tax breaks that help keep their workings financially solvent.

The UDC is a nonprofit. That means it’s a tax-exempt organization. That recent article about the UDC by AP reporter Allen Breed notes that the annual budget of Virginia, where the UDC is headquartered, “awards the state [division of the] UDC tens of thousands of dollars for the maintenance of Confederate graves — more than $1.6 million since 1996.”

7. They continue to exert political and social influence.

For the most part, the UDC has publicly kept pretty mum on the subject of Confederate monument removal, which has led some to conclude that the group is largely inactive, and even obsolete. Their numbers have dwindled since their heyday, but they remain tenacious about keeping Confederate monuments standing, thus continuing their cultural and political influence.

The UDC does this mostly through lawsuits. (The number of Confederate markers on courthouses has always shown the group’s keen interest in the power of the legal system.) When the San Antonio City Council voted in the weeks after the racist violence in Charlottesville to remove a Confederate monument from public property, the UDC filed suit against city officials. The Shreveport, Louisiana, chapter of the UDC has announced it will appeal a federal judge’s 2017 dismissal of the group’s lawsuit to keep up a Confederate monument at a local courthouse. The UDC threatened legal action against officials in Franklin, Tennessee, when city officials announced plans — not to take down a UDC monument to the Confederacy, but to add markers recognizing African-American historical figures to the park, which the UDC claims it owns. The city of Franklin, with pretty much no other option, responded by filing a lawsuit against the UDC.

And then there’s the case of the UDC vs. Vanderbilt University, in which the group’s Tennessee division filed suit after school administrators announced plans to remove the word “Confederate” from one of its dorms. A state appeals court ruled Vanderbilt could only implement the plan if it repaid $50,000 the UDC had contributed to the building’s construction in 1933 — adjusted to 2016 dollars. Vanderbilt opted to pay $1.2 million to the UDC rather than keep “Confederate” in the dorm name, which it raised from anonymous donors who contributed to a fund explicitly dedicated to the cause.

Kali Holloway

Kali Holloway is the senior director of Make It Right, a project of the Independent Media Institute. She co-curated the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s MetLiveArts 2017 summer performance and film series, “Theater of the Resist.” She previously worked on the HBO documentary Southern Rites, PBS documentary The New Public and Emmy-nominated film Brooklyn Castle, and Outreach Consultant on the award-winning documentary The New Black. Her writing has appeared in AlterNet, Salon, the Guardian, TIME, the Huffington Post, the National Memo, and numerous other outlets.

Lincoln attempts to send supplies

Almost as soon as he took office, Lincoln found out that the situation in Fort Sumter was even more serious than he had previously believed. A day after delivering his inaugural address, he was informed that Major Anderson and his men had only enough food and supplies to remain at the fort until about April 15. If the Union proved unable to resupply Anderson before then, he and his men would have to surrender the fort or face starvation. Moreover, Lincoln was told that on March 3, South Carolina military troops under the command of General Pierre Gustave Toutant Beauregard (1818–1893) had taken up positions all around the harbor, their cannons poised to fire upon Fort Sumter at any time.

After consulting with his cabinet to review his options, Lincoln decided that he would attempt to resupply Anderson's troops at Fort Sumter. He knew that any attempt to send food and other provisions to the fort was risky. The Union had attempted to transport supplies and reinforcements to the fort two months earlier via a ship called the Star of the West, only to be turned away by a hail of artillery fire from South Carolina cannons. Despite that earlier clash, though, Lincoln was unwilling to abandon the fort. He knew that if Federal control of Fort Sumter was relinquished, Northern morale would suffer, and Southern confidence in the Confederacy's ability to break away from the Union permanently would increase.

On March 29, 1861, Lincoln ordered the U.S. military to send ships bearing food and supplies to the surrounded outpost, but he declined to send reinforcements to help Anderson defend the fort. He believed that any attempt to increase Federal troop strength at Sumter might be interpreted as an aggressive action by the Confederate military and the remaining slave states in the Union, and that such a step would increase the likelihood of a violent clash between Anderson's troops and the forces under Beauregard's command.

Determined to avoid a bloody clash if possible, Lincoln notified South Carolina governor Francis Pickens (1805–1869) on April 8 of his plan to send ships carrying food and other supplies to Fort Sumter. Two days later, a small fleet of Union ships headed by Captain Gustavus Fox (1821–1883) set out for the fort from New York to deliver the provisions.

Upon learning of the Union plan to resupply Fort Sumter, Confederate president Jefferson Davis called his cabinet together to discuss their options. The letter that Pickens had received from Lincoln made it clear that Seward's secret assurances of an impending federal departure from the outpost could no longer be believed. Davis and his cabinet were thus left with two choices: permit Fox's fleet to carry out its mission to Fort Sumter, which would allow Anderson's troops to man the outpost for several more months or attack the garrison before the supplies could be delivered and risk triggering an all-out war with the Union.

Some Confederate leaders cautioned against launching any attack on Fort Sumter. "The firing on that fort will inaugurate a civil war greater than any the world has yet seen," warned Confederate secretary of state Robert Toombs (1810–1885). "You will wantonly strike a hornet's nest which extends from mountains to ocean, and legions now quiet will swarm out and sting us to death." But Davis and many other leaders believed that the Confederacy needed to take a strong stand. On April 10, Beauregard was ordered to take the fort by force if he could not convince Anderson to surrender willingly.

Chief Hiawatha and the Iroquois Nations

Iroquois Confederacy

Chief Hiawatha was undeniably one of the famous Iroquois leaders. In fact, history claims that he was the major gluing particle of the Iroquois Confederacy. His power was the one who made the 5 tribes form together with the Confederacy. His confederate reign was the foundation of peace and democracy, although, it did not really last. This is usually the case of different government. These 5 tribes are the Onondaga, Mohawk, Oneida, Cayuga, and Seneca. Together, they were hailed the 5 Nations League.

The creation of the Iroquois Confederacy was also the product of the meet up of Chief Hiawatha and Deganawida. Deganawida was a chief of the Mohawk tribe. During his time of reign, he was withdrawn to the idea of exercising violence against the neighboring tribes. Unfortunately, violence is the core of the Mohawk Tribe during that time. He tried appealing to the council regarding their ways, but the latter is not that open to the suggestion of deterring the aggression of their people. With that, Deganawida left. He went to the West, and there, he met Chief Hiawatha by the lake. Upon meeting, Deganawida marveled at the wiseness of Chief Hiawatha, making him decide to bring the latter into his tribe.The philosophical position of Hiawatha was well accepted by the Mohawk tribe in the end. Chief Hiawatha Iroquois story shows how one can be embraced by different tribes by wisdom alone. The confederacy’s main goal was installing unification across different tribes so as to lessen inter-tribe wars that lead to more deaths than necessary. Due to the insistence of the two, there came the formation of the “Great Law of Peace”. This has cemented Chief Hiawatha’s position as a famous Iroquois.

The Forgotten Corners of Alexander Stephens’ “Cornerstone Speech”

History is complex, messy, and unyielding to our dearest wishes for easy categorization. That Alexander Stephens understood the Confederacy through its cornerstone of slavery is plainly true and explained in his own words. But the “Cornerstone Speech” goes further, planting the other corners of the Confederate state in concerns over federalism and sovereignty.

Anxious onlookers packed the Savannah Athenaeum on the night of March 21, 1861 to hear the newly appointed Confederate States Vice President, Alexander Stephens. He had held the office a little over one month and played a central role in crafting the Montgomery Constitution, itself adopted only ten days previous. Few Southern politicians were as well placed as “Little Alec” to tell his fellow Georgians what the document contained and how it defined the new Confederate nation. Yet, as one biographer noted, “Stephens got caught up in his own eloquence” and devoted a portion of his speech elaborating on slavery and its central place in the creation of the C.S.A., calling it the “cornerstone” of the new Southern Republic. From that day, his speech became known simply as the “Cornerstone Speech” and continues to play a lead role in understanding the meaning of secession and the Civil War.[1]

Of the Confederacy’s cornerstone, as described by Stephens, there can be no doubt. His language was straightforward and unequivocal. The “proper status of the negro… was the immediate cause of the late rupture and present revolution.” The Founders struggled with the notion of equal rights, that slavery and the slave trade were “in violation of the laws of nature,” and that the peculiar institution would someday fade away. Stephens believed that Jefferson, Madison, and their ilk erred badly. “They rested upon the assumption of the equality of races. This was in error. It was a sandy foundation, and the government built upon it fell when the ‘storm came and the wind blew.’” The new Southern Republic, therefore, aimed to rectify these errors, and he declared that “its foundations are laid, its corner-stone 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.” Stephens based this “great truth” on the grounds of science (likely his reading of the French racial theorist Arthur de Gobineau) and the “social fabric” of the South.

The substratum of our society is made of the material fitted by nature for it, and by experience we know that it is best, not only for the superior, but for the inferior race, that it should be so. It is, indeed, in conformity with the ordinance of the Creator. It is not for us to inquire into the wisdom of His ordinances, or to question them. For His own purposes, He has made one race to differ from another, as He has made ‘one star to differ from another star in glory.’ The great objects of humanity are best attained when there is conformity to His laws and decrees, in the formation of governments as well as in all things else. Our confederacy is founded upon principles in strict conformity with these laws. This stone which was rejected by the first builders ‘is become the chief of the corner’ the real ‘corner-stone’ in our new edifice.

African slaves may someday improve, Stephens suggested, but only through the schooling in work and civilization that plantation slavery offered. Southern plantations would, in fact, offer the symbol of Southern nationality to the world. “In olden times the olive branch was considered the emblem of peace we will send to the nations of the earth another and far more potential emblem of the same, the cotton plant.”[2]

The speech did Stephens and Confederacy no favors. It complicated the Confederate cause in Europe, as England and France hesitated to jump to the defense of a new nation advertising its foundations in the preservation of slavery, and muddied the waters for Southern defenders who claimed their cause solely based in states’ rights. After the war, Stephens well knew the hostility toward his speech and fought a stubborn rear-guard historiographical battle to revise perceptions. He claimed the speech was “extemporaneous,” the reporters’ notes were “very imperfect” and necessitated his corrections, a sort of nineteenth-century “fake news.”

“Slavery was without doubt the occasion of secession,” he admitted, and then attempted to walk back his assertion that the old Constitution was flawed compared to the C.S.A., an unconvincing revision considering his extended meditation on the Philadelphia Constitution’s “sandy foundation.” Several reporters from Savannah newspapers covered the speech and their recollections are nearly identical. The Savannah Republican printed a transcription of the address. The Savannah Daily Morning News merely provided a summary, but their editorial shorthand followed Stephens’ intent precisely: “A fundamental error in the old government had been corrected in the new. The old government was framed on the false theory of the equality of the races—that what God had made unequal was equal. Ours was based on the inequality of the races—on truth.”[3]

The “Cornerstone Speech,” however, should have come as no surprise. Stephens had been discussing these themes for years. When he retired from the House of Representatives in 1859, he spoke the language of racialism, of “gradations in the races of men, from the highest to the lowest type.” Nine days before his Savannah speech, Stephens proclaimed to an Atlanta audience that the Confederate founders in Montgomery had “solemnly discarded the pestilent heresy of fancy politicians, that all men, of all races, were equal, and we had made African inequality and subordination, and the equality of white men, the chief corner stone of the Southern Republic.” Two days later in Augusta, he hit the same notes, claiming the new constitution’s protections of slavery “the principal and most important point of all” and “the prime cause of our separation from the United States,” and that the Philadelphia Constitution was flawed—“it was founded upon the idea that African slavery is wrong, and it looked forward to the ultimate extinction of that institution. But time has proved the error, and we have corrected it in the new Constitution.” The three speeches were thematically identical.[4]

The metaphor of a cornerstone was also unoriginal. Stephens borrowed it from Justice Henry Baldwin’s decision in the 1833 Johnson v. Tompkins case over the retrieval of a fugitive slave. Baldwin wrote:

Thus you see that the foundations of the government are laid, and rest on the rights of property in slaves—the whole structure must fall by disturbing the corner stones—if federal numbers cease to be respected or held sacred in questions of property or government, the rights of the states disappear and the government and union dissolve by the prostration of its laws before the usurped authority of individuals.

As one legal historian notes, Baldwin’s opinion “would no doubt have met with the approval of the most radical defenders of slavery.” In addition, all through the winter of 1861, Southern secession commissioners developed these themes repeatedly. Mississippi commissioner Jacob Thompson, for example, told the Florida secession convention in January, “Within this government two societies have become developed. The one is based on free labor, the other slave labor… The one embodies the social principle that equality is the right of man the other, the social principle that equality is not the right of man, but the right of equals only.” There is also no hard evidence Jefferson Davis regretted Stephens’ speech, despite suggestions to the contrary. In fact, one month after Savannah, President Davis declared to the Confederate Congress that the war began over slavery, and that the institution intended to change “brutal savages into docile, intelligent, and cultivated agricultural laborers.” In short, the Savannah speech was consistent with Stephens’ publicly elaborated ideas on slavery and Southern politicians’ explanations of their reasoning and conduct.[5]

Yet Stephens’ speech was more than the cornerstone his remarks on slavery occupied less than a quarter of the whole. A canny and intelligent public man, he chose his metaphor carefully and deliberately. Most buildings have four corners, and though the cornerstone attracts the eye, the other three corners are no less important to holding up the structure. Stephens dove into considerable detail on the Confederate Constitution recently shaped in Montgomery, Alabama, that it improved upon the U.S. Constitution, and in so doing planted all four corners of the Southern Republic. Slavery held up the Confederate States of America, but so did observations on the nature of power, be it the government’s public purse, the executive, or the basis of Confederate nationality.

The Montgomery Constitution made essential changes to the Old Constitution to protect “all our ancient rights, franchises, and liberties,” Stephens asserted, and in so doing “it is decidedly better than the old.” Many of these changes involved government revenue and expenditures, particularly the tariff. The tariff regimes of the 1820s and 1830s, perceived by many Southerners as biased toward Northern interests, almost caused “a rupture of the Old Union, under the lead of the gallant Palmetto State,” but the new constitution’s language provided for a revenue tariff. There would be no more “building up class interests, or fostering one branch of industry to the prejudice of another under the exercise of the revenue power.” In other words, as he expressed days earlier in Augusta, “the merchant, the mechanic, the businessman, and the laborer, are all placed upon the same footing in that respect—one interest has no more claim to the protection of the Government than another.” In consequence, tariff rates would fall and the new republic would therefore embrace free trade “as far as practicable,” a qualification a former Whig like Stephens was happy to insert.

In the past, revenues had been applied to the building of internal improvements in the states, but these projects too were injudiciously funded to the benefit of Northern states. “The Confederate framers were convinced that internal improvements should be a state function,” historian Marshall L. DeRosa notes. Stephens gloried in the change: “The true principle is to subject the commerce of every locality, to whatever burdens may be necessary to facilitate it. If Charleston harbor needs improvement, let the commerce of Charleston bear the burden.” The changes to the government’s revenue and spending powers signaled two major changes: a revenue tariff would prevent “the extravagance and profligacy of appropriations by the Congress,” and demonstrate the Confederacy better reflected the American revolutionary tradition, that “representation and taxation should go together.”[6]

Stephens also mentioned executive branch power in the new Southern Republic and its contrast with that of the Philadelphia Constitution. He and fellow Georgian Robert Toombs admired the British system of filling the cabinet with parliamentary members, who sat in the Commons and defended their policies directly. Stephens called it “one of the wisest provisions of the British Constitution.” Had they succeeded in altering the Constitution to these ends, it would have modified the separation of powers between the executive and legislative branches.

“[It] would give the legislature a closer check upon the executive,” historian Charles Robert Lee explained, “it would keep the Congress better informed as to administrative policy, and finally, it would place more direct responsibility upon the department heads.” At Montgomery, however, they met with only partial success. While cabinet members did not double as congressmen or senators, they would be given seats on the floor “to participate in the debates and discussions.”[7]

One of the great virtues of this, Stephens believed, was that it allowed cabinet secretaries to trumpet their policies directly to Congress and the country, rather than indirectly through the newspapers. This brought one of the biggest ovations in his speech, as it alluded to the deep-seated corruption involved in the party press system, where lucrative government printing contracts purchased newspaper influence and the monies spread liberally to create a network of loyal papers in every state. In addition, the presidency would be limited to a six-year term with no allowance for reelection, which Stephens called “a decidedly conservative change.” As DeRosa describes it,

They aimed at establishing a custodial executive who would obstruct congressional excesses, would not pit the general government against the state governments, and would use the executive branch to secure the common interests of the states as collectively defined by the latter. Thus, the energy (i.e. power) of the general government would be kept in check by disrupting its stability (i.e. continuity).

For Stephens, this was a change in the interest of good government. “It will remove from the incumbent all temptation to use his office or exert the powers confided to him for any objects of personal ambition.”[8]

These changes and many others, however, depended on the C.S.A. protecting its recently declared sovereignty. In a dangerous world of a hostile Northern republic and European empires, Stephens believed the South had the makings of a “high national career.” It represented a sizeable extent of territory stretching from the Atlantic to the western frontier beyond the Mississippi, more than double the size of the original thirteen colonies when they declared their independence. It comprised five million people of both races, although Stephens jumped over the question of citizenship and rights for black Southerners. The South encompassed enormous wealth, income, and land (and slaves), with collective state debts a fraction of the Northern states. Such heralds, he hoped, would attract upper South states to the Confederate cause, and perhaps even beyond into amenable Northern states. “Should they do so, our doors are wide enough to receive them, but not until they are ready to assimilate with us in principle… this process will be upon no such principles of reconstruction as now spoken of, but upon reorganization and new assimilation.” If that occurred, reunion would be consummated under the Montgomery Constitution. Days earlier in Augusta, he explained:

To the North, there are North Carolina, Tennessee, Kentucky, Arkansas, and Missouri—all gravitating towards us. And we shall not stop here—even the great North-west is gravitating towards us and, as the rot of disintegration progresses in the old Confederacy, States will be broken up, and may come in to us, when they see that we possess the best of government… But let me say here, that if any of those States desire to join with us, they must first prove that they are worthy to associate with us that they have changed the erroneous principles which they now hold, and take upon themselves the true principles which we maintain.

Stephens warned that the foundations of the new Southern Republic were only as solid as the virtues and unity of the Southern people (“a people possessing the most conservative character,” he observed in Augusta). The Revolution of 1860 was not like the French Revolution: “France was a nation of philosophers. These philosophers become Jacobins. They lacked that virtue, that devotion to moral principle, and that patriotism which is essential to good government.” If divisions, partisanship, and selfishness emerged, however, “I have no good prophesy for you.”

History is complex, messy, and unyielding to our dearest wishes for easy categorization. That Alexander Stephens understood the Confederacy through its cornerstone of slavery is plainly true and explained in his own words at Savannah and elsewhere. It was a slave-holding republic. But the “Cornerstone Speech” goes further, planting the other corners of the Confederate state in concerns over federalism and sovereignty. His speech was an explanation of what Montgomery meant, about slavery and beyond. Although the document did not perfectly reflect his ideas, Alexander Stephens supported it vigorously in these weeks before the attack on Sumter, and it gives us a glimpse of the full nature of America’s Southern constitution.

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1 Thomas A. Schott. Alexander H. Stephens: A Biography (Baton Rouge: LSU Press, 1988) 334-335.

2 Don H. Doyle. The Cause of All Nations: An International History of the American Civil War (New York: Basic Books, 2015) 36-37 the unabridged text of Stephens’ Cornerstone Address can be found at the State Historical Society of Iowa.

3 Recollections of Alexander H. Stephens. Ed. Myrta Lockett Avary (New York: Doubleday, 1910) 172-175.

4 Thomas E. Schneider. Lincoln’s Defense of Politics: The Public Man and His Opponents in the Crisis over Slavery (Columbia: University of Missouri Press, 2006) 26-27 Charles B. Dew. Apostles of Disunion: Southern Secession Commissioners and the Causes of the Civil War (Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2001)16 Atlanta Southern Confederacy, March 13, 1861 Albany Patriot, March 28, 1861.

5 Johnson v. Tompkins, 13 FED CAS. 54 (1833) Earl Maltz, “Majority, Concurrence, and Dissent: Prigg v. Pennsylvania and the Structure of Supreme Court Decisionmaking,” Rutgers Law Review, 31 (Winter 2000), 378 Dew, Apostles of Disunion, 14-15, 43.

6 Marshall L. DeRosa. The Confederate Constitution of 1861: An Inquiry into American Constitutionalism (Columbia: University of Missouri Press, 1991) 94.

7 Charles Robert Lee. The Confederate Constitutions (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1963) 97.

8 DeRosa, Confederate Constitution, 80-82.

The featured image is a portrait of Alexander Hamilton Stephens, courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

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Constitution of the Confederate States of America

We, the people of the Confederate States, each State acting in its sovereign and independent character, in order to form a permanent federal government, establish justice, insure domestic tranquillity, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity invoking the favor and guidance of Almighty God do ordain and establish this Constitution for the Confederate States of America.

(1) All legislative powers herein delegated shall be vested in a Congress of the Confederate States, which shall consist of a Senate and House of Representatives.

1. The House of Representatives shall be composed of members chosen every second year by the people of the several States and the electors in each State shall be citizens of the Confederate States, and have the qualifications requisite for electors of the most numerous branch of the State Legislature but no person of foreign birth, not a citizen of the Confederate States, shall be allowed to vote for any officer, civil or political, State or Federal.

2. No person shall be a Representative who shall not have attained the age of twenty-five years, and be a citizen of the Confederate States, and who shall not when elected, be an inhabitant of that State in which he shall be chosen.

3. Representatives and direct taxes shall be apportioned among the several States, which may be included within this Confederacy, according to their respective numbers, which shall be determined by adding to the whole number of free persons, including those bound to service for a term of years, and excluding Indians not taxed, three-fifths of all slaves. The actual enumeration shall be made within three years after the first meeting of the Congress of the Confederate States, and within every subsequent term of ten years, in such manner as they shall by law direct. The number of Representatives shall not exceed one for every fifty thousand, but each State shall have at least one Representative and until such enumeration shall be made, the State of South Carolina shall be entitled to choose six the State of Georgia ten the State of Alabama nine the State of Florida two the State of Mississippi seven the State of Louisiana six and the State of Texas six.

4. When vacancies happen in the representation from any State the Executive authority thereof shall issue writs of election to fill such vacancies.

5. The House of Representatives shall choose their Speaker and other officers and shall have the sole power of impeachment except that any judicial or other Federal officer, resident and acting solely within the limits of any State, may be impeached by a vote of two-thirds of both branches of the Legislature thereof.

1. The Senate of the Confederate States shall be composed of two Senators from each State, chosen for six years by the Legislature thereof, at the regular session next immediately preceding the commencement of the term of service and each Senator shall have one vote.

2. Immediately after they shall be assembled, in consequence of the first election, they shall be divided as equally as may be into three classes. The seats of the Senators of the first class shall be vacated at the expiration of the second year of the second class at the expiration of the fourth year and of the third class at the expiration of the sixth year so that one-third may be chosen every second year and if vacancies happen by resignation, or other wise, during the recess of the Legislature of any State, the Executive thereof may make temporary appointments until the next meeting of the Legislature which shall then fill such vacancies.

3. No person shall be a Senator who shall not have attained the age of thirty years, and be a citizen of the Confederate States and who shall not, when elected, be an inhabitant of the State for which he shall be chosen.

4. The Vice President of the Confederate States shall be President of the Senate, but shall have no vote unless they be equally divided.

5. The Senate shall choose their other officers and also a President Pro Tempore in the absence of the Vice President, or when he shall exercise the office of President of the Confederate states.

6. The Senate shall have the sole power to try all impeachments. When sitting for that purpose, they shall be on oath or affirmation. When the President of the Confederate States is tried, the Chief Justice shall preside and no person shall be convicted without the concurrence of two-thirds of the members present.

7. Judgment in cases of impeachment shall not extend further than to removal from office, and disqualification to hold any office of honor, trust or profit, under the Confederate States but the party convicted shall, nevertheless, be liable and subject to indictment, trial, judgment and punishment according to law.

1. The times, places and manner of holding elections for Senators and Representatives, shall be prescribed in each State by the Legislature thereof, subject to the provisions of this Constitution but the Congress may, at any time, by law, make or alter such regulations, except as to the times and places of choosing Senators.

2. The Congress shall assemble at least once in every year and such meeting shall be on the first Monday in December, unless they shall, by law, appoint a different day.

1. Each House shall be the judge of the elections, returns, and qualifications of its own members, and a majority of each shall constitute a quorum to do business but a smaller number may adjourn from day to day, and may be authorized to compel the attendance of absent members, in such manner and under such penalties as each House may provide.

2. Each House may determine the rules of its proceedings, punish its members for disorderly behavior, and with the concurrence of two-thirds of the whole number expel a member.

3. Each House shall keep a journal of its proceedings, and from time to time publish the same, excepting such parts as may in their judgment require secrecy and the yeas and nays of the members of either House, on any question, shall, at the desire of one-fifth of those present, be entered on the journal.

4. Neither House, during the session of Congress, shall, without the consent of the other, adjourn for more than three days, nor to any other place than that in which the two Houses shall be sitting.

1. The Senators and Representatives shall receive a compensation for their services, to be ascertained by law, and paid out of the Treasury of the Confederate States. They shall, in all cases, except treason, felony, and breach of the peace, be privileged from arrest during their attendance at the session of their respective Houses, and in going to and returning from the same and for any speech or debate in either House, they shall not be questioned in any other place.

2. No Senator or Representative shall, during the time for which he was elected, be appointed to any civil office under the authority of the Confederate States, which shall have been created, or the emoluments whereof shall have been increased during such time and no person holding any office under the Confederate States shall be a member of either House during his continuance in office. But Congress may, by law, grant to the principal officer in each of the Executive Departments a seat upon the floor of either House, with the privilege of discussing any measures appertaining to his department.

1. All bills for raising revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives but the Senate may propose or concur with amendments, as on other bills.

2. Every bill which shall have passed both Houses, shall, before it becomes a law, be presented to the President of the Confederate States if he approve, he shall sign it but if not, he shall return it, with his objections, to that House in which it shall have originated, who shall enter the objections at large on their journal, and proceed to reconsider it. If, after such reconsideration, two-thirds of that House shall agree to pass the bill, it shall be sent, together with the objections, to the other House, by which it shall likewise be reconsidered, and if approved by two-thirds of that House, it shall become a law. But in all such cases, the votes of both Houses shall be determined by yeas and nays, and the names of the persons voting for and against the bill shall be entered on the journal of each House respectively. If any bill shall not be returned by the President within ten days (Sundays excepted) after it shall have been presented to him, the same shall be a law, in like manner as if he had signed it, unless the Congress, by their adjournment, prevent its return in which case it shall not be a law. The President may approve any appropriation and disapprove any other appropriation in the same bill. In such case he shall, in signing the bill, designate the appropriations disapproved and shall return a copy of such appropriations, with his objections, to the House in which the bill shall have originated and the same proceedings shall then be had as in case of other bills disapproved by the President.

3. Every order, resolution, or vote, to which the concurrence of both Houses may be necessary (except on a question of adjournment) shall be presented to the President of the Confederate States and before the same shall take effect, shall be approved by him or being disapproved by him, shall be repassed by two-thirds of both Houses, according to the rules and limitations prescribed in case of a bill.

Section 8. The Congress shall have power-

1. To lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts, and excises for revenue, necessary to pay the debts, provide for the common defense, and carry on the Government of the Confederate States but no bounties shall be granted from the Treasury nor shall any duties or taxes on importations from foreign nations be laid to promote or foster any branch of industry and all duties, imposts, and excises shall be uniform throughout the Confederate States.

2. To borrow money on the credit of the Confederate States.

3. To regulate commerce with foreign nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian tribes but neither this, nor any other clause contained in the Constitution, shall ever be construed to delegate the power to Congress to appropriate money for any internal improvement intended to facilitate commerce except for the purpose of furnishing lights, beacons, and buoys, and other aids to navigation upon the coasts, and the improvement of harbors and the removing of obstructions in river navigation, in all which cases, such duties shall be laid on the navigation facilitated thereby as may be necessary to pay the costs and expenses thereof:

4. To establish uniform laws of naturalization, and uniform laws on the subject of bankruptcies, throughout the Confederate States but no law of Congress shall discharge any debt contracted before the passage of the same:

5. To coin money, regulate the value thereof, and of foreign coin, and fix the standard of weights and measures:

6. To provide for the punishment of counterfeiting the securities and current coin of the Confederate States:

7. To establish post offices and post routes but the expenses of the Post-Office Department, after the 1st day of March in the year of our Lord eighteen hundred and sixty-three, shall be paid out of its own revenues:

8. To promote the progress of science and useful arts, by securing for limited times to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries:

9. To constitute tribunals inferior to the Supreme Court:

10. To define and punish piracies and felonies committed on the high seas, and offenses against the law of nations:

11. To declare war, grant letters of marque and reprisal, and make rules concerning captures on land and water:

12. To raise and support armies but no appropriation of money to that use shall be for a longer term than two years:

13. To provide and maintain a navy:

14. To make rules for the government and regulation of the land and naval forces:

15. To provide for calling forth the militia to execute the laws of the Confederate States, suppress insurrections, and repel invasions:

16. To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining the militia, and for governing such part of them as may be employed in the service of the Confederate States reserving to the States, respectively, the appointment of the officers, and the authority of training the militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress:

17. To exercise exclusive legislation, in all cases whatsoever, over such district (not exceeding ten miles square) as may, by cession of one or more States and the acceptance of Congress, become the seat of the Government of the Confederate States: and to exercise like authority over all places purchased by the consent of the Legislature of the State in which the same shall be, for the erection of forts, magazines, arsenals, dockyards, and other needful buildings: and

18. To make all laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into execution the foregoing powers, and all other powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the Confederate States, or in any department or officer thereof.

1. The importation of negroes of the African race from any foreign country other than the slaveholding States or Territories of the United States of America, is hereby forbidden and Congress is required to pass such laws as shall effectually prevent the same.

2. Congress shall also have power to prohibit the introduction of slaves from any State not a member of, or Territory not belonging to, this Confederacy.

3. The privilege of the writ of habeas corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in cases of rebellion or invasion the public safety may require it.

4. No bill of attainder, ex post facto law, or law denying or impa[i]ring the right of property in negro slaves shall be passed.

5. No capitation or other direct tax shall be laid, unless in proportion to the census or enumeration hereinbefore directed to be taken.

6. No tax or duty shall be laid on articles exported from any State, except by a vote of two-thirds of both Houses.

7. No preference shall be given by any regulation of commerce or revenue to the ports of one State over those of another.

8. No money shall be drawn from the Treasury, but in consequence of appropriations made by law and a regular statement and account of the receipts and expenditures of all public money shall be published from time to time.

9. Congress shall appropriate no money from the Treasury except by a vote of two-thirds of both Houses, taken by yeas and nays, unless it be asked and estimated for by some one of the heads of departments and submitted to Congress by the President or for the purpose of paying its own expenses and contingencies or for the payment of claims against the Confederate States, the justice of which shall have been judicially declared by a tribunal for the investigation of claims against the Government, which it is hereby made the duty of Congress to establish.

10. All bills appropriating money shall specify in Federal currency the exact amount of each appropriation and the purposes for which it is made and Congress shall grant no extra compensation to any public contractor, officer, agent or servant, after such contract shall have been made or such service rendered.

11. No title of nobility shall be granted by the Confederate States and no person holding any office of profit or trust under them shall, without the consent of the Congress, accept of any present, emolument, office or title of any kind whatever, from any king, prince, or foreign state.

12. Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press or the right of the people peaceably to assemble and petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

13. A well-regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.

14. No soldier shall, in time of peace, be quartered in any house, without the consent of the owner nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.

15. The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated and no warrants shall issue but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched and the persons or things to be seized.

16. No person shall be held to answer for a capital or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a grand jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the militia, when in actual service in time of war or public danger nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb nor be compelled, in any criminal case, to be a witness against himself nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

17. In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation to be confronted with the witnesses against him to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor and to have the assistance of counsel for his defense.

18. In suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved and no fact so tried by a jury shall be otherwise reexamined in any court of the Confederacy, than according to the rules of common law.

19. Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.

20. Every law, or resolution having the force of law, shall relate to but one subject, and that shall be expressed in the title.

1. No State shall enter into any treaty, alliance, or confederation grant letters of marque and reprisal coin money make anything but gold and silver coin a tender in payment of debts pass any bill of attainder, or ex post facto law, or law impairing the obligation of contracts or grant any title of nobility.

2. No State shall, without the consent of the Congress, lay any imposts or duties on imports or exports, except what may be absolutely necessary for executing its inspection laws and the net produce of all duties and imposts, laid by any State on imports or exports, shall be for the use of the Treasury of the Confederate States and all such laws shall be subject to the revision and control of Congress.

3. No State shall, without the consent of Congress, lay any duty on tonnage, except on seagoing vessels, for the improvement of its rivers and harbors navigated by the said vessels but such duties shall not conflict with any treaties of the Confederate States with foreign nations and any surplus revenue, thus derived, shall, after making such improvement, be paid into the common treasury. Nor shall any State keep troops or ships-of-war in time of peace, enter into any agreement or compact with another State, or with a foreign power, or engage in war, unless actually invaded, or in such imminent danger as will not admit of delay. But when any river divides or flows through two or more States they may enter into compacts with each other to improve the navigation thereof.

1. The executive power shall be vested in a President of the Confederate States of America. He and the Vice President shall hold their offices for the term of six years but the President shall not be re-eligible. The President and Vice President shall be elected as follows:

2. Each State shall appoint, in such manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a number of electors equal to the whole number of Senators and Representatives to which the State may be entitled in the Congress but no Senator or Representative or person holding an office of trust or profit under the Confederate States shall be appointed an elector.

3. The electors shall meet in their respective States and vote by ballot for President and Vice President, one of whom, at least, shall not be an inhabitant of the same State with themselves they shall name in their ballots the person voted for as President, and in distinct ballots the person voted for as Vice President, and they shall make distinct lists of all persons voted for as President, and of all persons voted for as Vice President, and of the number of votes for each, which lists they shall sign and certify, and transmit, sealed, to the seat of the Government of the Confederate States, directed to the President of the Senate the President of the Senate shall, in the presence of the Senate and House of Representatives, open all the certificates, and the votes shall then be counted the person having the greatest number of votes for President shall be the President, if such number be a majority of the whole number of electors appointed and if no person have such majority, then, from the persons having the highest numbers, not exceeding three, on the list of those voted for as President, the House of Representatives shall choose immediately, by ballot, the President. But in choosing the President, the votes shall be taken by States- the representation from each State having one vote a quorum for this purpose shall consist of a member or members from two-thirds of the States, and a majority of all the States shall be necessary to a choice. And if the House of Representatives shall not choose a President, whenever the right of choice shall devolve upon them, before the fourth day of March next following, then the Vice President shall act as President, as in case of the death, or other constitutional disability of the President.

4. The person having the greatest number of votes as Vice President, shall be the Vice President, if
such number be a majority of the whole number of electors appointed and if no person have a majority, then, from the two highest numbers on the list, the Senate shall choose the Vice President a quorum for the purpose shall consist of two-thirds of the whole number of Senators, and a majority of the whole number shall be necessary to a choice.

5. But no person constitutionally ineligible to the office of President shall be eligible to that of Vice President of the Confederate States.

6. The Congress may determine the time of choosing the electors, and the day on which they shall give their votes which day shall be the same throughout the Confederate States.

7. No person except a natural born citizen of the Confederate States, or a citizen thereof at the time of the adoption of this Constitution, or a citizen thereof born in the United States prior to the 20th of December, 1860, shall be eligible to the office of President neither shall any person be eligible to that office who shall not have attained the age of thirty-five years, and been fourteen years a resident within the limits of the Confederate States, as they may exist at the time of his election.

8. In case of the removal of the President from office, or of his death, resignation, or inability to discharge the powers and duties of said office, the same shall devolve on the Vice President and the Congress may, by law, provide for the case of removal, death, resignation, or inability, both of the President and Vice President, declaring what officer shall then act as President and such officer shall act accordingly, until the disability be removed or a President shall be elected.

9. The President shall, at stated times, receive for his services a compensation, which shall neither be increased nor diminished during the period for which he shall have been elected and he shall not receive within that period any other emolument from the Confederate States, or any of them.

10. Before he enters on the execution of his office he shall take the following oath or affirmation:

“I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the office of President of the Confederate States, and will, to the best of my ability, preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution thereof.”

1. The President shall be Commander-in-Chief of the army and navy of the Confederate States, and of the militia of the several States, when called into the actual service of the Confederate States he may require the opinion, in writing, of the principal officer in each of the executive departments, upon any subject relating to the duties of their respective offices and he shall have power to grant reprieves and pardons for offenses against the Confederate States, except in cases of impeachment.

2. He shall have power, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, to make treaties provided two-thirds of the Senators present concur and he shall nominate, and by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, shall appoint ambassadors, other public ministers and consuls, judges of the Supreme Court, and all other officers of the Confederate States whose appointments are not herein otherwise provided for, and which shall be established by law but the Congress may, by law, vest the appointment of such inferior officers, as they think proper, in the President alone, in the courts of law, or in the heads of departments.

3. The principal officer in each of the executive departments, and all persons connected with the diplomatic service, may be removed from office at the pleasure of the President. All other civil officers of the executive departments may be removed at any time by the President, or other appointing power, when their services are unnecessary, or for dishonesty, incapacity, inefficiency, misconduct, or neglect of duty and when so removed, the removal shall be reported to the Senate, together with the reasons therefor.

4. The President shall have power to fill all vacancies that may happen during the recess of the Senate, by granting commissions which shall expire at the end of their next session but no person rejected by the Senate shall be reappointed to the same office during their ensuing recess.

1. The President shall, from time to time, give to the Congress information of the state of the Confederacy, and recommend to their consideration such measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient he may, on extraordinary occasions, convene both Houses, or either of them and in case of disagreement between them, with respect to the time of adjournment, he may adjourn them to such time as he shall think proper he shall receive ambassadors and other public ministers he shall take care that the laws be faithfully executed, and shall commission all the officers of the Confederate States.

1. The President, Vice President, and all civil officers of the Confederate States, shall be removed from office on impeachment, for and conviction of, treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors.

1. The judicial power of the Confederate States shall be vested in one Supreme Court, and in such inferior courts as the Congress may, from time to time, ordain and establish. The judges, both of the Supreme and inferior courts, shall hold their offices during good behavior, and shall, at stated times, receive for their services a compensation which shall not be diminished during their continuance in office.

1. The judicial power shall extend to all cases arising under this Constitution, the laws of the Confederate States, and treaties made, or which shall be made, under their authority to all cases affecting ambassadors, other public ministers and consuls to all cases of admiralty and maritime jurisdiction to controversies to which the Confederate States shall be a party to controversies between two or more States between a State and citizens of another State, where the State is plaintiff between citizens claiming lands under grants of different States and between a State or the citizens thereof, and foreign states, citizens or subjects but no State shall be sued by a citizen or subject of any foreign state.

2. In all cases affecting ambassadors, other public ministers and consuls, and those in which a State shall be a party, the Supreme Court shall have original jurisdiction. In all the other cases before mentioned, the Supreme Court shall have appellate jurisdiction both as to law and fact, with such exceptions and under such regulations as the Congress shall make.

3. The trial of all crimes, except in cases of impeachment, shall be by jury, and such trial shall be held in the State where the said crimes shall have been committed but when not committed within any State, the trial shall be at such place or places as the Congress may by law have directed.

1. Treason against the Confederate States shall consist only in levying war against them, or in adhering to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort. No person shall be convicted of treason unless on the testimony of two witnesses to the same overt act, or on confession in open court.

2. The Congress shall have power to declare the punishment of treason but no attainder of treason shall work corruption of blood, or forfeiture, except during the life of the person attainted.

1. Full faith and credit shall be given in each State to the public acts, records, and judicial proceedings of every other State And the Congress may, by general laws, prescribe the manner in which such acts, records, and proceedings shall be proved, and the effect thereof.

1. The citizens of each State shall be entitled to all the privileges and immunities of citizens in the several States and shall have the right of transit and sojourn in any State of this Confederacy, with their slaves and other property and the right of property in said slaves shall not be thereby impaired.

2. A person charged in any State with treason, felony, or other crime against the laws of such State, who shall flee from justice, and be found in another State, shall, on demand of the executive authority of the State from which he fled, be delivered up, to be removed to the State having jurisdiction of the crime.

3. No slave or other person held to service or labor in any State or Territory of the Confederate States, under the laws thereof, escaping or lawfully carried into another, shall, in consequence of any law or regulation therein, be discharged from such service or labor: but shall be delivered up on claim of the party to whom such slave belongs, or to whom such service or labor may be due.

1. Other States may be admitted into this Confederacy by a vote of two-thirds of the whole House of Representatives and two-thirds of the Senate, the Senate voting by States but no new State shall be formed or erected within the jurisdiction of any other State nor any State be formed by the junction of two or more States, or parts of States, without the consent of the Legislatures of the States concerned, as well as of the Congress.

2. The Congress shall have power to dispose of and make all needful rules and regulations concerning the property of the Confederate States, including the lands thereof.

3. The Confederate States may acquire new territory and Congress shall have power to legislate and provide governments for the inhabitants of all territory belonging to the Confederate States, lying without the limits of the several Sates and may permit them, at such times, and in such manner as it may by law provide, to form States to be admitted into the Confederacy. In all such territory the institution of negro slavery, as it now exists in the Confederate States, shall be recognized and protected by Congress and by the Territorial government: and the inhabitants of the several Confederate States and Territories shall have the right to take to such Territory any slaves lawfully held by them in any of the States or Territories of the Confederate States.

4. The Confederate States shall guarantee to every State that now is, or hereafter may become, a member of this Confederacy, a republican form of government and shall protect each of them against invasion and on application of the legislature (or of the executive when the legislature is not in session,) against domestic violence.

1. Upon the demand of any three States, legally assembled in their several conventions, the Congress shall summon a convention of all the States, to take into consideration such amendments to the Constitution as the said States shall concur in suggesting at the time when the said demand is made and should any of the proposed amendments to the Constitution be agreed on by the said convention- voting by States- and the same be ratified by the Legislatures of two- thirds of the several States, or by conventions in two-thirds thereof- as the one or the other mode of ratification may be proposed by the general convention- they shall thenceforward form a part of this Constitution. But no State shall, without its consent, be deprived of its equal representation in the Senate.

1. The Government established by this Constitution is the successor of the Provisional Government of the Confederate States of America, and all the laws passed by the latter shall continue in force until the same shall be repealed or modified and all the officers appointed by the same shall remain in office until their successors are appointed and qualified, or the offices abolished.

2. All debts contracted and engagements entered into before the adoption of this Constitution shall be as valid against the Confederate States under this Constitution, as under the Provisional Government.

3. This Constitution, and the laws of the Confederate States made in pursuance thereof, and all treaties made, or which shall be made, under the authority of the Confederate States, shall be the supreme law of the land and the judges in every State shall be bound thereby, anything in the constitution or laws of any State to the contrary notwithstanding.

4. The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial officers, both of the Confederate States and of the several States, shall be bound by oath or affirmation to support this Constitution but no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the Confederate States.

5. The enumeration, in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people of the several States.

6. The powers not delegated to the Confederate States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States, respectively, or to the people thereof.

1. The ratification of the conventions of five States shall be sufficient for the establishment of this Constitution between the States so ratifying the same.

2. When five States shall have ratified this Constitution, in the manner before specified, the Congress under the Provisional Constitution shall prescribe the time for holding the election of President and Vice President and for the meeting of the Electoral College and for counting the votes, and inaugurating the President. They shall, also, prescribe the time for holding the first election of members of Congress under this Constitution, and the time for assembling the same. Until the assembling of such Congress, the Congress under the Provisional Constitution shall continue to exercise the legislative powers granted them not extending beyond the time limited by the Constitution of the Provisional Government.

Adopted unanimously by the Congress of the Confederate States of South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas, sitting in Convention at the capitol, the city of Montgomery, Alabama, on the Eleventh Day of March, in the year Eighteen Hundred and Sixty-One.

HOWELL COBB, President of the Congress.

South Carolina: R. Barnwell Rhett, C. G. Memminger, Wm. Porcher Miles, James Chesnut, Jr., R. W. Barnwell, William W. Boyce, Lawrence M. Keitt, T. J. Withers.

Georgia: Francis S. Bartow, Martin J. Crawford, Benjamin H. Hill, Thos. R. R. Cobb.

Florida: Jackson Morton, J. Patton Anderson, Jas. B. Owens.

Alabama: Richard W. Walker, Robt. H. Smith, Colin J. McRae, William P. Chilton, Stephen F. Hale, David P. Lewis, Tho. Fearn, Jno. Gill Shorter, J. L. M. Curry.

Mississippi: Alex. M. Clayton, James T. Harrison, William S. Barry, W. S. Wilson, Walker Brooke, W. P. Harris, J. A. P. Campbell.

Louisiana: Alex. de Clouet, C. M. Conrad, Duncan F. Kenner, Henry Marshall.

Texas: John Hemphill, Thomas N. Waul, John H. Reagan, Williamson S. Oldham, Louis T. Wigfall, John Gregg, William Beck Ochiltree.

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