>Constitution of the Confederate States of America

>Here’s an interesting site that attempts to determine the real motivation behind the US Civil War by analyzing the differences between the CSA Constitution and the US Constitution, on which it was based.  

Was it “states’ rights”, or slavery?
Their conclusion:  Slavery.  There were few changes to the US Constitution.  The President changed from unlimited four-year terms (with the Washington precedent that he would step down after two) to a single six-year term (similar to Virginia’s single four-year term), and gained a line-item veto.  The major changes basically prohibited the States from touching slavery.
By the way, under US Constitutional theory, States don’t have “rights”.  People have rights and governments have powers.  The US Government has the powers expressly delegated in the Constitution, and the States have all the other powers that governments may exercise consistent with the rights of the people.
Here’s the summary:

Overall, the CSA constitution does not radically alter the federal system that was set up under the United States constitution. It is thus very debatable as to whether the CSA was a significantly more pro-“states’ rights” country (as supporters claim) in any meaningful sense.  At least three states rights are explicitly taken away– the freedom of states to grant voting rights to non-citizens, the freedom of states to outlaw slavery within their borders, and the freedom of states to trade freely with each other.

States only gain four minor rights under the Confederate system- the power to enter into treaties with other states to regulate waterways, the power to tax foreign and domestic ships thatuse their waterways, the power to impeach federally-appointed state officials, and the power to distribute “bills of credit.” When people champion the cause of reclaiming state power from the feds, are matters like these at the tops of their lists of priorities?
As previously noted, the CSA constitution does not modify many of the most controversial (from a states’ rights perspective) clauses of the American constitution, including the “Supremacy” clause (6-1-3), the “Commerce” clause (1-8-3) and the “Necessary and Proper” clause (1-8-18). Nor does the CSA take away the federal government’s right to suspend habeus corpus or “suppress insurrections.”
As far as slave-owning rights go, however, the document is much more effective. Indeed, CSA constitution seems to barely stop short of making owning slaves mandatory. Four different clauses entrench the legality of slavery in a number of different ways, and together they virtually guarantee that any sort of future anti-slave law or policy will be unconstitutional. 

People can claim the Civil War was “not about slavery” until the cows come home, but the fact remains that anyone who fought for the Confederacy was fighting for a country in which a universal right to own slaves was one of the most entrenched laws of the land.
In the end, however, many of the most interesting changes introduced in the CSA constitution have nothing to do with federalism or slavery at all. The President’s term limit and line-item veto, along with the various fiscal restraints, and the ability of cabinet members to answer questions on the floor of Congress are all innovative, neutral ideals whose merits may still be worth pondering today. (Emphasis added)


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4 Responses to >Constitution of the Confederate States of America

  1. >Actually, there were numerous causes. Aside from the obviousschism between the abolitionists and the anti-abolitionists, there were economic factors, both domestic and inter–

  2. >Just say “Slavery”.

  3. >The whole idea of secession started in response to the Free Soil movement. Proponents of Free Soil wanted to prohibit the expansion of slavery to Territories, and, therefore, to new states. Southerners saw this, rightly, as an attempt to reduce the value of their slaves. (The morality of slavery was a minor issue at the time.)The Republican Party was organized as a Free Soil party. When Lincoln became President and the Republicans gained control of the House, the Free Soil movement could not be stopped. Southern secession was an attempt to create a holdup problem: the South tried to destroy the Union to block the Free Soil movement.The clauses entrenching slavery in the South were a logical consequence of opposing Free Soil. The Confederates opposed restrictions on the expansion of slavery, so they had to had to adopt constitutional clauses entrenching it. Otherwise, the whole idea of secession would have been silly.The really bizarre aspect about the Free Soil conflict was that nobody knew whether the western territories were conducive to slavery in the first place. The war was originally about extending slavery to places whose ability to support slavery was unknown.

  4. Charles says:

    >The South seceded from the USA because of taxation pure and simple. Lincoln was a very successful trial lawyer, and among his clients were the Illinois Central Railroad, other railroads and some big corporations. For decades the Whigs and Lincoln advocated doling out tax money to corporations for building railroads and canals. Presidents from James Madison on vetoed this, because Madison said he could find no place in the Constitution where you could justify giving any private business taxpayer money. This was a big, ongoing political debate during the last half of the 19th century that was ended at gunpoint when Lincoln was elected president. And that is the astonishing point that most every historian ignores. Consider this: The tariff was the main source of federal revenue, and since the South was so dependent on importing things – they didn’t manufacture much – they were paying about 80 percent or more of all federal tariff revenue. They had been complaining for decades that most of the money was being spent up in the North, although the South was paying almost all of it, and that’s when the rate was 15 percent. The Republicans came in and said they were going to triple the extent to which the South was taxed and raised the rate to 47 percent. In his first inaugural address, Lincoln said, “It is my duty to collect all the duties and revenues and tariffs and save so that there will be no invasion.” Imagine an American president saying it’s his duty to collect the taxes, and as long as you pay the taxes, he will not send the Army down there to shoot you. That’s a pretty bold thing. But if you read the first inaugural, it’s right there in black and white.It was that proclamation that caused the South to secede. The war of Northern Aggression had absolutely nothing to do with slavery, and everything to do with taxation. In fact there was a famous letter that Lincoln wrote to Horace Greeley, the editor of the New York Tribune. On Aug. 22, 1862, he wrote, “My paramount objective in this struggle is to save the Union and is not either to save or destroy slavery. If I could save the Union without freeing any slave, I would do it.” That was his position. He did not launch a war because of slavery; he launched a war to destroy the secession movement. No wonder the politicians in Washington have built a huge monument to him and put his face on Mount Rushmore. These things were the birth of big government in America, and that’s why there are government monuments everywhere of Abraham Lincoln. You are worshiping the state when you worship the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. Remember, The Declaration of Independence was a declaration of secession. When Thomas Jefferson was elected, the Federalist Party was so upset that for more than 10 years they plotted to secede. The party actually held a secession convention in Hartford, Conn., in 1814. They decided not to secede, but all during that whole saga, no one really questioned the fundamental right of secession. In fact, the leader of the whole movement was Massachusetts Sen. Timothy Pickering. He said that secession was the principle of the revolution. Lincoln was a despot who ran roughshod over the Constitution and became America’s first Caesar. Unfortunately American public schools have brainwashed our children with lies and dribble to get them to pay homage to one of the greatest villains in history for the sake of bashing the South over slavery and making the state the supreme power in the USA.And by the way, all slaves brought to America were transported under the flag of the USA and sold by Yankee slavers to Southerners. Not one slave ship ever sailed from a Southern port! And did you know that only five percent of Southerners ever owned slaves? If the war was about slavery, how did the five percent of slave holders convince the other 95% of the South to fight and die for them?If you were educated in a government school in America you need to read “The Real Lincoln” by Thomas DiLorenzo and get your facts straight!

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