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First Capitol, Montgomery AL Second Capitol, Richmond VA

Jan 11, 2016

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  • First Capitol, Montgomery AL

    Second Capitol, Richmond VA

  • The Confederate Constitution of seven state signatoriesSouth Carolina, Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana and Texasformed a "permanent federal government" in Montgomery, Alabama, in 1861 Four additional slave-holding statesVirginia, Arkansas, Tennessee and North Carolinadeclared their secession and joined the Confederacy following a call by U. S. President Abraham Lincoln for troops from each state to recapture Sumter and other lost federal properties in the South

  • Map of the states and territories claimed by the Confederate States of America

  • Missouri and Kentucky were represented by partisan factions from those states. Also aligned with the Confederacy were the "Five Civilized Tribes" and a new Confederate Territory of Arizona. Efforts to secede in Maryland were halted by martial law, while Delaware, though of divided loyalty, did not attempt it A Unionist government in western parts of Virginia organized the new state of West Virginia which was admitted to the Union on June 20, 1863

  • The Southern leaders met in Montgomery, Alabama, to write their constitution. Much of the Confederate States Constitution replicated the United States Constitution verbatim, but it contained several explicit protections of the institution of slavery including provisions for the recognition and protection of negro slavery in any new state admitted to the Confederacy. It maintained the existing ban on international slave-trading while protecting the existing internal trade of slaves among slaveholding states

  • The Preamble to the Confederate Constitution"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 tranquility, 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

  • the Confederate Constitution gave greater powers to the states (or curtailed the powers of the central government more) than the U.S. Constitution of the time did, but in other areas, the states actually lost rights they had under the U.S. Constitution.

  • the Confederate version prohibited the central government from using revenues collected in one state for funding internal improvements in another state. The Confederate Constitution's equivalent to the U.S. Constitution's general welfare clause prohibited protective tariffs (but allowed tariffs for providing domestic revenue), and spoke of "carry[ing] on the Government of the Confederate States" rather than providing for the "general welfare"

  • The Confederate Constitution did not specifically include a provision allowing states to secede; the Preamble spoke of each state "acting in its sovereign and independent character" but also of the formation of a "permanent federal government

  • The Montgomery Convention to establish the Confederacy and its executive met February 4, 1861. Each state as a sovereignty had one vote, with the same delegation size as it held in the U.S. Congress, and generally 41 to 50 members attended. Offices were "provisional", limited to a term not to exceed one year. One name was placed in nomination for president, one for vice president. Both were elected unanimously, 60.

  • Jefferson Davis was elected provisional president. Although he had made it known that he wanted to be commander-in-chief of the Confederate armies, when elected, he assumed the office of Provisional President

  • Alexander Stephens was elected unanimously provisional Vice President, though with some privately held reservations. Davis and Stephens were elected President and Vice President, unopposed on November 6, 1861. They were inaugurated on February 22, 1862.

  • Davis's cabinet in 1861, Montgomery, Alabama Front row, left to right: Judah P. Benjamin, Stephen Mallory, Alexander Stephens, Jefferson Davis, John Henninger Reagan, and Robert Toombs Back row, standing left to right: Christopher Memminger and LeRoy Pope Walker

  • The Permanent Constitution provided for a President of the Confederate States of America, elected to serve a six-year term but without the possibility of re-election. Unlike the United States Constitution, the Confederate Constitution gave the president the ability to subject a bill to a line item veto, a power also held by some state governors.

  • The Permanent Confederate Congress was elected and began its first session February 18, 1862. The Permanent Congress for the Confederacy followed the United States forms with a bicameral legislature. The Senate had two per state, twenty-six Senators. The House numbered 106 representatives apportioned by free and slave populations within each state. Two Congresses sat in six sessions until March 18, 1865 The absence of political parties made individual roll call voting all the more important, as the Confederate "freedom of roll-call voting was unprecedented in American legislative history

  • Key issues throughout the life of the Confederacy(1) suspension of habeas corpus (2) military concerns such as control of state militia, conscription and exemption (3) economic and fiscal policy including impressment of slaves, goods and scorched earth (4) support of the Jefferson Davis administration in its foreign affairs and negotiating peace

  • Judicial BranchThe Confederate Constitution outlined a judicial branch of the government, but the ongoing war and resistance from states-rights advocates, particularly on the question of whether it would have appellate jurisdiction over the state courts, prevented the creation or seating of the "Supreme Court of the Confederate States;" the state courts generally continued to operate as they had done, simply recognizing the Confederate States as the national government

  • Confederate district courts were authorized by Article III, Section 1, of the Confederate Constitution, and President Davis appointed judges within the individual states of the Confederate States of America. In many cases, the same US Federal District Judges were appointed as Confederate States District Judges. Confederate district courts began reopening in the spring of 1861 handling many of the same type cases as had been done before. Prize cases, in which Union ships were captured by the Confederate Navy or raiders and sold through court proceedings, were heard until the blockade of southern ports made this impossible

  • After a Sequestration Act was passed by the Confederate Congress, the Confederate district courts heard many cases in which enemy aliens (typically Northern absentee landlords owning property in the South) had their property sequestered (seized) by Confederate Receivers

  • When the Confederacy was formed and its seceding states broke from the Union, it was at once confronted with the arduous task of providing its citizens with a mail delivery system, and, in the midst of the war, the newly formed Confederacy created and established the Confederate Post Office John H. Reagan Postmaster General

  • Mail that crossed lines had to be sent by 'Flag of Truce' and was allowed to pass at only two specific points. Mail sent from the South to the North states was received, opened and inspected at Fortress Monroe on the Virginia coast before being passed on into the U.S. mail stream. Mail sent from the North to the South passed at City Point, also in Virginia, where it was also inspected before being sent on.

  • Financial InstitutionsMail delivery was also important for the Confederacy for a myriad of business and military reasons. Because of the Union blockade, basic supplies were always in demand and so getting mailed correspondence out of the country to suppliers was imperative to the successful operation of the Confederacy

  • The Confederacy actively used the army to arrest people suspected of loyalty to the United States. Historian Mark Neely found 4,108 names of men arrested and estimated a much larger total. The Confederacy arrested pro-Union civilians in the South at about the same rate as the Union arrested pro-Confederate civilians in the North. Neely concludes:The Confederate citizen was not any freer than the Union citizen and perhaps no less likely to be arrested by military authorities. In fact, the Confederate citizen may have been in some ways less free than his Northern counterpart. For example, freedom to travel within the Confederate states was severely limited by a domestic passport system

  • The central government was denied requisitioned soldiers and money by governors and state legislatures because they feared that Richmond would encroach on the rights of the states. Georgia's governor Joseph Brown warned of a secret conspiracy by Jefferson Davis to destroy states rights and individual liberty. The first conscription act in North America authorizing Davis to draft soldiers was said to be the "essence of military despotism

  • Financial Institutions Both the individual Confederate states and later the Confederate government printed CSA dollars as paper currency in various denominations, much of it signed by the Treasurer Edward C. Elmore. During the course of the war these severely depreciated and eventually became worthless

  • The Confederate government initially wanted to finance its war mostly through tariffs on imports, export taxes, and voluntary donations of gold. However, after the spontaneous imposition of an embargo on cotton sales to Europe in 1861, these sources of revenue dried up and the Confederacy increasingly turned

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