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Confederate System - History

Confederate System - History

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The confederal form of government is an association of independent states. The central government gets its authority from the independent states. Power rests in each individual state, whose representatives meet to address the needs of the group.

What Were the Cons of the Articles of Confederation?

  • It took a long time for it to be fully implemented.
  • It had no authority to regulate commerce.
  • It had not authority to levy taxes.
  • It provided too much independence.
  • It placed value on slavery.
  • It restricted the ability to act in an emergency.


During the first seven weeks of the Civil War, the US Post Office still delivered mail from the seceded states. Mail that was postmarked after the date of a state's admission into the Confederacy through May 31, 1861, and bearing U.S. (Union) postage is deemed to represent 'Confederate State Usage of U.S. Stamps'. i.e., Confederate covers franked with Union stamps. [4] After this time, private express companies still managed to carry the mail across enemy lines. The three major express companies in operation throughout the south were Adams Express, American Letter Express, and Whiteside's Express. They had been operating freely for approximately two months when the U.S. Post Office ordered an end to such traffic, effective August 26, 1861. Mail destined to states that were not among their own unions now had to be sent by Flag of Truce, although some express companies still continued to run their mail operations illegally Adams continued its Southern operations under a nominally-separate Southern Express Company, in actuality a subsidiary. Mail was also smuggled in and out by blockade-running ships—which, however, were often captured or destroyed by Union ships on blockade patrol. Because Confederate post offices existed for only a few years and official and informal records of them are lacking, relatively little is known about their operations in many regions of the South. Existing data has been studied by several experts in the field, who have reconstructed an account of their existence and operation largely from surviving Confederate covers (stamped-addressed envelopes), and by researchers specializing in advanced studies of Confederate philately, notably Colonel Harvey E. Sheppard, United States Army, Fort Hood, Texas the late Van Dyk MacBride, Newark, New Jersey George N. Malpass, St. Petersburg, Florida Earl Antrim, Nampa, Idaho David Kohn, Washington, D. C., and a few others, each contributing material in the concerted effort to create an overall account of Confederate postal history. [3] [5]

One of the first undertakings in establishing the Confederate Post Office was the appointment of John H. Reagan (1818–1905) to Postmaster General, by Jefferson Davis in 1861, making him the first Postmaster General of the newly formed Confederate post office. Reagan was a Democratic congressman from Texas (many years after the Civil War, Texas would elect him to a Senate seat). Upon appointment Reagan became a close friend of Davis and was Postmaster General for the duration of the war, making him the only PMG of the short-lived Confederacy. [6] In preparation for wartime mail delivery Reagan proved to be very resourceful. He sent an agent to Washington with letters asking the various heads of the U.S. Post Office Department to come work for the new Confederate Post Office. Amazingly nearly all of them did, bringing copies of records, and account books along with them. "Reagan in effect had stolen the U.S. Post Office," notable historian William C. Davis wrote. Reagan was obviously an able administrator, presiding over the only CSA cabinet department that functioned well during the war. It established new rates rather higher than those in the Union: 5¢ (equal to $1.44 today) per half-ounce under 500 miles (800 km), 10¢ per half-ounce over 500 miles (800 km), 2¢ for drop letters and circulars. Later the under-500 miles (800 km) rate was raised to 10¢ also. There was a 50¢ rate for express mail, and after 1863 a 40¢ rate for Trans-Mississippi mail to cover the costs of smuggling the mail through a Federal blockade that operated along the entire length of the lower Mississippi River. At the beginning of the war, Union blockades prevented supplies from reaching their destinations in the South, which from time to time resulted in the shortage of postage stamps, paper and other basic supplies that were much needed throughout the Confederate states.

Although the Confederate government had contracted for the printing of its own stamps, they were not yet available on June 1, forcing postmasters all over the South to improvise. [7] Most of the time they simply went back to the old practice of accepting payment in cash and applying a "PAID" hand-stamp to the envelope. However, a number of postmasters, particularly those in the larger cities, could not afford to be handling long lines of cash customers, and developed a variety of Postmaster's provisionals. These took a variety of forms, from envelopes prestamped with a postmark modified to say "paid" or an amount, to regular stamps produced by local printers. Some are today among the great rarities of philately. [7]

Within a month after his appointment as Postmaster General, Reagan ordered that ads be placed in both Southern and Northern newspapers seeking sealed proposals from printing companies for producing Confederate postage stamps. Bids arrived from companies in New York, Baltimore, Philadelphia, Newark, New Orleans and Richmond. After the war started, however, it became evident that the contract to print Confederate stamps should go to a Confederate firm. The Confederate Post Office Department therefore awarded the contract to lithographers Hoyer & Ludwig, a small firm in Richmond. The stamps they produced were inferior in image quality to the line engraved stamps printed by the US Post Office, but with what resources they had, they produced some handsome images by many accounts. The first Confederate postage issues were placed in circulation in October 1861, five months after postal service between the North and South had ended. Jefferson Davis is depicted on the first issue of 1861. The appearance of a living person on a postage stamp marked a break from the tradition adhered to by the US Post Office, that a person may be depicted on US postage or currency only after death.

Provisional stamps Edit

During the five months between the US Post office's withdrawal of services from the seceded states and the first issue of Confederate postage stamps, postmasters throughout the Confederacy used temporary substitutes for postal payment. Postmasters had to improvise and used various methods to apply confirmation of postage to mailed covers, ranging from the creation of their own adhesive postage stamps to the marking of letters with either rate-altered hand-stamps or the manuscript indication "Paid." The improvised stamps and pre-paid covers are known to collectors as 'Postmaster Provisionals', so-called because they were used 'provisionally' until the first Confederate general postage stamp issues appeared. Some Confederate post offices would subsequently experience shortages in postage stamps and would revert to the use of Provisional stamps and hand-stamps. There are many dozens of types of Provisional stamps and hand-stamps from different towns and cities about the Confederacy. In some circles, Postmaster Provisionals are referred to as 'locals' since they were intended only for use from the town in which they were issued. [8]

Postage stamps Edit

As the Confederate States of America existed for only four years, it was able to issue only a modest number of postage stamps, nine basic types in all. During this brief span, the Confederate Post Office contracted with five different printing companies to produce postage stamps: Archer & Daly of Richmond, Virginia Hoyer & Ludwig of Richmond, Virginia J. T. Paterson & Co. of Augusta, Georgia Thomas de la Rue & Co., Ltd., of London, England and Keatinge & Ball of Columbia, South Carolina. Among them, these firms employed all three methods of printing commonly in use at that time: lithography, typography and line-engraving. The first Confederate Postage stamps were issued and placed in circulation on October 16, 1861, five months after postal service between the North and South had been suspended. [9]

  • The first postage stamp issued by the Confederate States (1861) was a 5¢ green depicting Jefferson Davis. It was printed by the lithograph process by Hoyer and Ludwig of Richmond, Virginia. Like almost all Confederate issues, these stamps were imperforate, and single stamps had to be cut from the sheet with razors or scissors. This stamp was reprinted in blue in 1862.
  • A 10¢ blue with Thomas Jefferson also appeared in 1861, designed by Charles Ludwig of Hoyer & Ludwig, Richmond, Virginia. This issue was printed by two different companies: Hoyer & Ludwig and, later, J. T. Paterson & Co. of Augusta, Georgia. The image of Thomas Jefferson used on both printings lithographically reproduced the same image that had been engraved on the U.S. 5-cent issue of 1856. Secret marks were added by the Paterson firm to the transfer stones to distinguish its version from the Hoyer & Ludwig prints of the same design. The most typical use was for the ten-cent rate after July 1, 1862. This stamp, like the 5¢ Davis, was reprinted in 1862, in a rose-colored version that is considerably rarer than the blue original. [10]
  • In 1862, a 2¢ stamp of Andrew Jackson appeared, in green, and was issued imperforate. This issue was again lithographed by Hoyer & Ludwig of Richmond, Virginia. Only one transfer stone used in this printing. The earliest known usage of this stamp was March 21, 1862. Sheets of this issue consisted of two panes of 100 stamps each arranged in two blocks of fifty (10X5) taken from the 50-subject transfer stone with a wide vertical gutter between panes. [11] This was the last lithographed stamp produced by the Confederate Post Office.
  • Also in 1862, a new 5¢ stamp of Davis, this time utilizing typography, was issued in large quantities. Produced by the De La Rue firm in London (which had been supplying postage stamps for England since 1855), it employed an engraving of Davis by Ferdinand Joubert (1810–1884). De La Rue shipped 12,000,000 copies of this issue to the Confederacy, accompanied by a set of printing plates and a supply of English paper so that additional copies could be produced locally. More than 36,000,000 of the 5¢ Davis stamps were subsequently printed from the De La Rue plates by Archer and Daly in Richmond. Archer and Daly eventually ran out of the English paper, and their later printings on Confederate paper tended to become increasingly coarse, with individual examples exhibiting blank areas in the design from plate damage or filled in areas due to plate wear. (Today they can be purchased for approximately US$10 depending on condition.)
  • De La Rue also printed and shipped a typographed 1¢ orange stamp depicting John C. Calhoun. The Confederate Post office had planned to reduce the drop-letter rate to one cent, but this proved impractical and, as a result, the 1¢ stamp was never put into use. Joubert De La Ferte again engraved the central image of Calhoun, placing it in the same framework design used for the Jefferson Davis 5-cent issue, a clear attempt to show that the two stamps were part of the same series. (Later, De La Rue sent altered plates of both typographed stamps to the Confederacy with revised denominations, intended for 2-cent Calhoun and 10-cent Davis issues, but neither stamp was put into production. The printed versions of these that are sometimes seen all date from the 20th century, and cannot be considered true Confederate stamps.)
  • In 1863, a new 2¢ Jackson design appeared, engraved in steel by Frederick Halpin and printed by Archer & Daly in pale red. A second printing appeared in brown red. Line-engraving would be employed in all subsequent Confederate stamps.
  • Also in 1863, a 10-cent stamp was released bearing the profile of Jefferson Davis in blue. This issue was designed and engraved on steel by John Archer and transferred to either copper plates or steel plates. Many shades of exist for these stamps, ranging from light milky blue and darker blue to shades that tend toward greenish blue and green. There are four similar designs of engraved ten cent stamps.
  • The easiest to distinguish from the other three has the value expressed as "TEN". The portrait of Jefferson Davis was designed and line engraved by John Archer, and then transferred to a copper plate. This issue was imperforate and was printed on soft, porous paper of varying thickness and with colorless gum. The earliest recorded usage is April 23, 1863. Color variations occur from dark-blue to gray-blue. [12]
  • The next easiest to distinguish (on which the value is expressed as "10") has straight lines enclosing the design in a rectangle. Several distinct shades of blue occur in this printing. The earliest recorded usage is April 23, 1863. All of these were printed by Archer and Daly of Richmond. This "frame-line" variety is by far the rarest of the stamps issued by the Confederate Post Office. Even poor copies shorn of most of the framing can command prices upwards of US$1000.
  • Type I, initially printed by Archer & Daly, Bank Note Engravers, Richmond, Virginia, employs the same engraving as the "Frame Line" issue but without the frame lines. There were approximately 23,800,000 stamps printed from two plates, each with two panes of one hundred. The earliest recorded usage is April 21, 1863.
  • Type II, also at first printed by Archer & Daly, is very similar to type I. Frederick Halpin designed and engraved the image of Davis. The corner ornaments are filled, and a faint line follows the outside of the design and encloses it. The Archer & Daly plates for both Type I and Type II were moved from Richmond to Columbia, South Carolina, when the fall of Richmond became imminent in late 1864. The company of Keatinge & Ball then printed the two stamps. A small number of Types I and II in Archer & Daly printings were perforated and released for use by the Confederate Post Office Department in 1864. [13] The perforations (gauge 12 + 1 ⁄ 2 ) on these were often of notably poor quality, and forgeries abound, many of which betray themselves by perforations that either employ the wrong gauge or are cut too crisply.
  • A 20¢ stamp with George Washington also appeared in 1863, again employing a design engraved in steel by Halpin and printed by Archer & Daly. This issue saw only limited use, with the result that genuine used copies are today worth 10 times more than mint examples. [14]

A considerable number of Confederate covers (i.e. stamped - addressed envelope) survived the Civil War and through the many years since they were mailed and have been avidly sought after and preserved by historians and collectors alike. The war had divided family members and friends across the country, and letter writing naturally increased dramatically, especially to and from the men who were away serving in an army. Letters written by soldiers reveal how they would frequently ask parents, wives and family members to write often and to also ask others to write letters back to them. As mail sent to and from the soldiers became more commonplace in the mail streams of the divided states, various Christian charity groups provided pens, paper and envelopes for the soldiers in response to their constant need for these items, since soldiers on active duty during wartime rarely had the opportunity to buy these things. The variety of mail from this time period provides the student of Civil War history with an excellent cross-reference of the history involved then. [15] Special categories of interest include covers to and from soldiers, patriotic covers, prisoner-of-war covers, Flag of Truce and through-the-lines mail, mail carried by blockade runners to and from Europe, and a variety of other types. All of these specialties have been intensively studied. Although contemporary official records are often fragmentary or missing, and many details remain unclear, the covers with their addresses, dated postmarks, special markings and the letters themselves have provided much insight for historians and collectors in their studies of Civil War postal history. Some forging of material went on in the late 19th century, and authentication is a challenge for experts. As a rule of thumb a collector should be wary of fancy cancels on Confederate mail, as the CSA Post Office never used fancy cancels. Other common types of forgeries include added stamps to a cover and forged postmarks. Another common oversight of the forger is postmarking stamps with dates before the stamp was issued. [16] Many collectors over the years have marked or destroyed fakes and forgeries upon identification in an effort to keep the collecting pool safe from such material. This is a practice common to most of philately. [17]

Prisoner of war mail Edit

During the American Civil War the number of Union and Confederate soldiers in prisoner of war prisons and camps would reach an astonishing one and a half million men. The prison population at the Andersonville Confederate POW camp alone reached 45,000 men by the war's end. At the onset of the war the United States did not recognize the legitimacy of the Confederate States and refused to establish a system that allowed for a formal prisoner and mail exchange. By the summer of 1862, more than a year into the war, prison populations in the north were at alarming proportions and the US government began to see the necessity of a prisoner and mail exchange system. On July 2, 1862 it signed what was referred to as a Prisoner exchange cartel, and by September of that year prison populations were almost emptied. However, as the war dragged on the US government had increasing distrust for the Confederate government and stopped the prisoner and mail exchanges in June 1863, less than a year after it had signed the exchange agreement.

Flag of Truce mail exchanges resumed a month later and were used until the end of the war. Prisoner mail that was carried by Flag-of-Truce had to be put in an unsealed envelope with address and postage for delivery on the other side, then placed in an outer cover for delivery to the exchange point where the outer envelope would be destroyed and the inner envelope containing the prisoner's letter was inspected. The letter would then be placed in and sealed in the stamped addressed envelope and hand-stamped indicating that the item had been inspected. Often correspondents did not observe the two-envelope regulation, so there are examples of covers where instead of an inner and outer envelope arrangement both US and Confederate postage was applied to the prisoner's letter and where both US and Confederate markings were applied. These covers are often referred to as dual-use postage covers. Mail exchange between the divided states was only allowed to cross the lines at specified exchange points. Mail which was going from the North destined to points in the South passed primarily at City Point, Virginia, while most of the mail going from the South to the North passed through at Fortress Monroe, Virginia, and usually bear an Old Point Comfort postmark.

A prisoner's cover was usually docketed with the prisoner's name, rank, and company. The marking, "Examined", on the face of the cover, usually in manuscript, indicated that the cover had been opened and examined by prison officials. Once at the exchange point, the outer envelope was removed and discarded while the inner cover containing the prisoner's letter was examined by military officials and delivered. There also exist covers that were carried to transfer points by exchanged prisoners and consequently bear no confederate examiner's markings. Mail to and from the various military prisons and prison camps is one of the most intriguing and challenging areas in Civil War postal history. Letters addressed to the various prisoner of war prisons are in most cases much scarcer than letters sent from these facilities. The south had its paper shortages, and because Confederate prisons limited the amount of correspondence mail from Confederate prisons is much rarer than mail from Union prisons. [18] [19] [20]

Prisoner of war prisons and camps Edit

When the Civil War got underway, both sides were ill-prepared to deal with the very large numbers of captured troops. For a time a prisoner and mail exchange program was in use that lasted until June 1863, when the U.S. Government terminated any further cooperation due to mounting war tensions and increased mistrust. [20] The postmarks and stampings found on wartime mail from military prisons and camps during the war are sought after by historians and collectors, not only for their souvenir value but also as confirmation that various people, events and places existed at the time of mailing indicated by the name, address, postmark and other official markings. The mailed covers often bear the postmark of the nearest town or city from where the prison or camp was located. The study of Civil War military postal history and postmarks is an area of philately that involves a great volume of material covering town names, history, rarity, postmarks and other official markings found on mail to and from POW facilities. In the Nav-boxes below are two partial lists of some of the larger prison facilities, Union and Confederate, in operation during some or all of the war. Numbers for inmate totals are included to provide insight into knowing the amount of any surviving mail that is or may be in existence. There were also prison facilities that contained much smaller numbers of prisoners (a couple listed here) also. Records for some prison facilities are completely lacking, the total numbers of prisoners held, peak prison population amounts, escapes and deaths remaining unknown at the present time. Surviving prisoner of war mail to or from some of these places is exceedingly rare, and in some cases no covers are known to exist. [21]

  • Alton Military Prison - Alton, Illinois- 12,000
  • Camp Butler - Springfield, Illinois- 3,000
  • Camp Chase – Columbus, Ohio- 10,000
  • Camp Douglas – Chicago, Illinois- 18,000
  • Camp Morton - Indianapolis, Indiana- 3,000
  • Castle Williams - Governors Island, New York City- 1,500
  • Davids' Island – New York City- 2,500
  • Elmira Prison – Elmira, New York- 12,000
  • Fort Delaware – Delaware City, Delaware- 12,500
  • Fort Lafayette - New York City- 163
  • Fort McHenry - Baltimore, Maryland- 6,900
  • Fort Warren – Boston, Massachusetts- 1,000
  • Gratiot Street Prison – St. Louis, Missouri- 2,000
  • Hart IslandNew York City- 3,400
  • Johnson's Island – Lake Erie, Sandusky, Ohio- 10,000
  • Ohio Penitentiary – Columbus, Ohio- 360
  • Old Capitol Prison – Washington, D.C.- 300
  • Point Lookout – Saint Mary's County, Maryland- 52,000
  • Rock Island Prison – Rock Island, Illinois- 12,000
  • Andersonville – Andersonville, Georgia- 45,000 - 50,000
  • Belle Isle – Richmond, Virginia- 18,000
  • Blackshear Prison – Blackshear, Georgia- 5,000
  • Cahaba Prison (Castle Morgan) – Selma, Alabama- 600
  • Camp Ford – near Tyler, Texas- 5,300
  • Camp Groce, Camp Gillespie and Camp Felder - Camp Groce 2 miles east of Hempstead, Texas, Camp Gillespie near Burleigh, Texas, and Camp Felder 6.5 miles Northeast of Chappell Hill, Texas- 1,110 held of which 220 died or are missing
  • Camp Oglethorpe - Macon, Georgia1,200
  • Castle Pinckney – Charleston, South Carolina- 300
  • Castle Sorghum – Columbia, South Carolina- 1,400
  • Castle Thunder – Richmond, Virginia- 1,400
  • Danville Prison – Danville, Virginia- 4,000
  • Florence Stockade – Florence, South Carolina- 18,000
  • Fort Pulaski – Savannah, Georgia- 600
  • Libby Prison – Richmond, Virginia- 50,000
  • Salisbury Prison – Salisbury, North Carolina- 1,700

Blockade mail Edit

At the onset of the American Civil War it was imperative for the Confederacy to get crucial correspondence to suppliers and other mail into and out of the country. On April 19, 1861, President Lincoln proclaimed a blockade along the entire coastline of the Confederacy to prevent it from obtaining supplies and to prevent it from communicating with the rest of the world by means of mail. Twelve major ports and approximately 3,500 miles (5,600 km) of coastline along the Confederate States were patrolled by some 500 ships [23] that were commissioned by the US Navy however, some accounts vary considerably and place the number of commissioned ships for blockade patrol at about 200, taking into account the high numbers of Union ships that were withdrawn from blockade duty for repairs. [24] The blockade played a major role in the Union's victory over the Confederate states. By the end of the Civil War, the Union Navy had captured more than 1,100 blockade runners and had destroyed or run aground another 355 vessels. The Union blockade reduced a vital source of revenue for the south, cotton exports, to a fraction of what they were prior to the war, as well as preventing much of its mail from being sent or received. (See also: Anaconda Plan) In response to the blockade various specially-built steamers were built and put to use by British investors who were heavily invested in the cotton and tobacco trade. These vessels were typically smaller and lighter in weight, often giving them an advantage of maneuverability and record speeds of up to 17 knots, which enabled them to evade or outrun Union ships on patrol. Their cargoes were usually small, light-weight and often included mail. [24]

Blockade runners Edit

During the beginning of the Civil War, getting Confederate mail in and out of the Confederacy to and from foreign suppliers and other interested parties overseas posed a problem. At first, getting a ship through the Union blockade was easier, but as the war progressed the number of Union ships on blockade patrol increased while veteran crews were becoming more experienced and growing wiser to the evasive tactics employed by blockade-runners. To escape detection, blockade-runners would often try to get the mail and cargo through by making night runs, especially when the moon was new. Many of the vessels were also painted a dark gray color to help them blend in with the backdrop of the night sea, a practice that earned these vessels the nickname of Greyhounds. Some of the steamers also burned a smokeless anthracite coal which greatly reduced their profile against the horizon. However, as the war went on, the prospect of getting a ship through diminished greatly, and many of these ships faced capture or destruction, their cargoes and mail never reaching their ports of destination. As many of the vessels used as blockade-runners were built in England for British investors, the captured crews and passengers were usually British also. The cargo aboard was rewarded to the captain and crew of the capturing vessel, it is assumed as an added incentive for captains and crews on blockade patrolling ships to be extra vigilant. Mail was also confiscated and sometimes used as evidence against the parties involved with the ship and its cargo. ( figure 2 ) Consequently, inbound covers that were prepared by forwarding agents for transfer to and delivery within the Confederacy never received various postmarks or other markings from the Confederate post office. [23] [25]

Among the most notable blockade runners were steamers like the SS Syren, a 169-foot (52 m) steel-hulled sidewheel steamer that made a record 33 successful runs through the Union blockade. Another steamer called the Alice, a 177-foot (54 m) steel-hulled vessel, made 24 successful runs, while the Kate, a wooden-hulled steamer, made 20 successful runs before being run aground in November 1862. It is likely that most of the blockade runners brought mail into the Confederate mail stream, as the Confederate states were in dire need of basic supplies, the procurement of which was conducted through mailed correspondence. The various cargoes would likely have mail attached to them to notify various parties that their shipment has arrived at port. Today, [ when? ] Confederate blockade covers are highly sought after by collectors and historians who often regard these mailings as figurative time-stamps and historical confirmation that various people, ships and post offices existed in and among these times and places. [23] [25]

The principal transfer points for mail arriving from or destined to Europe and other locations were Nassau in the Bahamas, Bermuda, and Cuba. Ships carrying letters that were addressed to points in the Confederacy would deposit their cargo of mail at one of these transfer points. Here the inbound mail was handled by a forwarding agent who would remove the mail or inner cover and prepare it for transfer on a blockade runner. Often the forwarding agents would apply their own markings to the cover of mail. Mail placed aboard a blockade runner would then, perhaps with some luck, make its way to the ports of New Orleans, Charleston or Wilmington, where it was received by Confederate postal operators who would then include it in with the regular Confederate mail for delivery.

The captain of the blockade runner would typically get two cents for every letter he delivered to port, which was a nominal sum, as his main source of revenue was from delivering his cargo. The average number of successful runs by a blockade runner was only about four, many of them meeting a fateful ending on their first run. Various ports along the coastline of the Confederacy saw the most traffic from blockade runners. Charleston in South Carolina was particularly well situated as a port for blockade runners with their shallow drafts, as was the Port in Wilmington in North Carolina which saw the most traffic. Because the lower Mississippi River was being blockaded effectively dividing the Western Confederate states from those east, New Orleans became one of the busiest of ports. Consequently, many blockade covers have postmarks from these locations. [23] [25]

Patriotic covers Edit

The years during the American Civil War were a period marked with strong sentiments and loyalties towards both sides involved, and this sentiment is clearly displayed on various Civil War correspondence known to collectors and historians as Patriotic Covers. Citizens, many of whom had family members and friends off fighting in the war, or who had died in battle, often expressed their loyalties with envelopes illustrated with flags, portraits, slogans and allegorical figures such as that of Liberty, which clearly captured the sentiments of that time. This practice was most evident in the North where there were many printers, especially in the larger cities, who produced an assortment of envelopes that proudly displayed these designs and which quickly became popular among the citizenry. The situation in the south was quite different. The demand for printers in the agrarian South was much less, and consequently established and qualified printers were generally nonexistent throughout most of the Confederacy. The South also lacked the North's industrialized advantages and supplies, and so the various Confederate patriotic covers that have survived the years are scarce and rare and usually have considerable value. [26] [27]

Confederate System - History

The Civil War represented a watershed moment in the history of American taxation. The quick, limited engagement both sides confidently predicted soon proved a chimera. Instead, the exigencies of protracted, destructive warfare ­ engulfing private property and civilian populations as well as commissioned combatants ­ demanded innovations in government financing. While the outcome of the conflict may be attributed to any number of contingent factors, the varying fiscal strategies undertaken by the Union and Confederate governments undoubtedly influenced the capacity of both societies to sustain the war effort. North and South employed markedly different approaches. The North's proved more efficacious in the long run.

The antebellum south enjoyed one of the lightest tax burdens of all contemporary civilized societies. Local or state governments assessed all obligations. By contrast, the hastily assembled Confederate government lacked the bureaucratic infrastructure to levy or collect internal taxes. Its citizens possessed neither a tradition of compliance nor a means to remit payment. Land and slaves comprised the bulk of southern capital liquid forms of wealth like specie or paper currency were hard to come by in a predominantly agrarian region.

Efforts to raise war revenue through various methods of taxation proved ineffective. The Confederate Congress enacted a minor tariff in 1861, but it contributed only $3.5 million in four years. That same year, Congress implemented a small direct tax (0.5 percent) on real and personal property. But the government in Richmond was forced to rely on the individual states to collect the levy. Reprising the scenario played out during the Revolutionary War, most states did not collect the tax at all, preferring to meet their quota by borrowing money or printing state notes to cover it.

The Davis administration turned to loans to finance the initial bulk of war debts. Riding a wave of patriotic enthusiasm in 1861, the Treasury earned $15 million selling out their first bond issue. The second issue, however, consisting of $100 million in 8 percent yield bonds, sold slowly. Few southerners had the cash to purchase them, but in addition the year-end 12 percent inflation rate threatened to negate any promise of real financial return. It fell to investors to buy up the remainder of the 8 percent bonds, which they purchased with newly minted Confederate Treasury notes.

By necessity rather than choice, the South turned to the printing press to pay most of its bills. In its first year, the Confederate government derived 75 percent of its total revenue from Treasury notes, less than 25 percent from bonds (purchased, of course, with the notes), and under 2 percent from taxes. While the proportion of the latter two would increase slightly in later years, the foundation of Confederate war financing consisted of over $1.5 billion in paper dollars that began depreciating before the ink had a chance to dry. By refusing to establish the notes as compulsory legal tender, Treasury officials hoped to avoid undermining confidence in the currency. They preferred that the currency be backed by public confidence in the Confederacy’s survival (notes were to be redeemable in specie at face value within two years of the end of the war).

This being the case, various state, county, and city notes also circulated widely, diluting the medium further the fact that these poorly printed bills were easily counterfeited did not help matters. Ironically, the Confederate decision to turn to paper money in lieu of a system of internal taxation abetted the most odious, regressive form of de facto taxation southern society endured: runaway inflation, appearing in the wake of military reversals in 1862, and topping 9,000 percent by war’s end.

By the spring of 1863, the crushing burden of inflation motivated Richmond to come up with an alternative to fiat money. In April, they followed the Union’s lead and enacted comprehensive legislation that included a progressive income tax, an 8 percent levy on certain goods held for sale, excise, and license duties, and a 10 percent profits tax on wholesalers. These provisions also included a 10 percent tax-in-kind on agricultural products. The latter burdened yeoman more than the progressive income tax encumbered urban salaried workers, since laborers could remit depreciated currency to meet their obligations. Adding to the inequity, the law exempted some of the most lucrative property owned by wealthy planters ­ their slaves ­ from assessment. Lawmakers considered a tax on slaves to be a direct tax, constitutionally permissible only after an apportionment on the basis of population. Since the war precluded any opportunity to count heads, they concluded that no direct tax was possible. Accumulating war debts and heightened condemnation of a "rich man’s war, poor man’s fight" led to revision of the tax law in February 1864, which suspended the requirement for a census-based apportionment of direct taxes and imposed a 5 percent levy on land and slaves. These changes came too late, however, to have any sustained impact on the Confederate war effort.

In addition to its developed industrial base, the North entered the war with several apparent institutional advantages, including an established Treasury and tariff structure. With the exodus of southern representatives, the Republican-dominated Congress ratcheted up tariff rates throughout the war, beginning in 1862 with the Morill Tariff Act, which reversed the downward trend instituted by the Democrats between 1846 and 1857. Subsequent tariff legislation, especially the 1864 act, raised rates further. Protective tariffs were politically popular among manufacturers, northern laborers, and even some commercial farmers. But Customs duties amounted to about $75 million annually, only nominally more, after adjusting for inflation, than the value of duties collected during the 1850s. Still, the high rate structure established in the Civil War would remain a hallmark of the post-war political economy of the Republican party.

Ideological reservations tempered some of the Treasury’s supposed institutional advantages. Secretary of the Treasury Salmon Chase, like many northern policymakers, generally distrusted any form of exchange other than specie. They preferred to pay government debts by physically moving gold out of the Treasury instead of transferring funds from demand deposits via check. They also refused to utilize established private banks in New York, Boston, and Philadelphia as repositories for federal funds, further complicating financial transactions. Chase hoped to follow Albert Gallatin’s model of financing the War of 1812, which (initially) emphasized borrowing over taxation. Ultimately, however, mounting debts, a shortage of specie, and the threat of inflation led the Union to adopt innovative plans for both borrowing and internal taxation.

In contrast to the Confederacy, which relied on loans for about 35 percent of its war finances, the Union raised over 65 percent of its revenue this way. Having little personal experience, Chase turned to Philadelphia Banker Jay Cooke to administer the sale of war bonds. Although he expected banks and wealthy citizens to purchase most of them, Cooke employed a sophisticated propaganda campaign to market the bonds to the middling classes as well. Patriotic newspaper advertisements and an army of 2,500 agents persuaded almost one million northerners (about 25 percent of ordinary families) to invest in the war effort bond sales topped $3 billion. In this way, Cooke previewed the techniques with which governments in the 20thcentury would fund modern wars.

In order for the bond program to be successful, the North needed an unrestricted currency supply for citizens to pay for them and a source of income to guarantee the interest. The Legal Tender Act filled the first requirement. Passed in February 1862, the act authorized the issue of $150 million in Treasury notes, known as Greenbacks. In contrast to Confederate paper, however, Congress required citizens, banks, and governments to accept Greenbacks as legal tender for public and private debts, except for interest on federal bonds and customs duties. This policy allowed buyers to purchase bonds with greenbacks while the interest accrued to them was paid in gold (funded, in part, by specie payments of customs duties). Investors enjoyed a bountiful windfall, since government securities purchased with depreciated currency were redeemed with gold valued at the prewar level. Taxpayers essentially made up the difference. Because most bonds were acquired by the wealthy or by financial institutions, the program concentrated investment capital in the hands of those likely to use it, much as Alexander Hamilton’s debt plan had sought to do.

The Union government’s decision to implement a broad system of internal taxation not only insured a valuable source of income, but shielded the northern economy from the sort of ruinous inflation experienced by the South. Despite another $150 million Greenback issue, the overall northern inflation rate reached only 80 percent, comparable with the domestic rates during World Wars I and II. The Internal Revenue Act of 1862, enacted by Congress in July, 1862, soaked up much of the inflationary pressure produced by Greenbacks. It did so because the Act placed excise taxes on just about everything, including sin and luxury items like liquor, tobacco, playing cards, carriages, yachts, billiard tables, and jewelry. It taxed patent medicines and newspaper advertisements. It imposed license taxes on practically every profession or service except the clergy. It instituted stamp taxes, value added taxes on manufactured goods and processed meats, inheritance taxes, taxes on the gross receipts of corporations, banks, and insurance companies, as well as taxes on dividends or interest they paid to investors. To administer these excise taxes, along with the tariff system, the Internal Revenue Act also created a Bureau of Internal Revenue, whose first commissioner, George Boutwell, described it as "the largest Government department ever organized."

The majority of internal taxes and tariffs duties were regressive, consumption-oriented measures that affected lower income Americans more severely than higher-income Americans. In response, Republicans looked to reinforce the system’s fairness by implementing a supplementary system of taxation that more accurately reflected taxpayers’ "ability to pay." The income tax addressed this need.

The first federal income tax in American history actually preceded the Internal Revenue Act of 1862. Passed in August 1861, it had helped assure the financial community that the government would have a reliable source of income to pay the interest on war bonds. Initially, Salmon Chase and Thaddeus Stevens, Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, wanted to implement an emergency property tax similar to the one adopted during the War of 1812. This way, the government could adapt the administrative system that state and local governments had developed for their own property taxes. But legislators understood such a property tax as a direct tax. Article 1, Section 9 of the Constitution required the federal government to apportion the burden among states on the basis of population rather than property values. Emphasizing population over property value would actually render the tax quite regressive. Residents of lower-density western states, border states, and poor northeastern states stood to bear a greater burden than those of highly-populated urban states, despite the latter’s valued real estate. Their representatives also complained that a property tax would not touch substantial "intangible" property like stocks, bonds, mortgages, or cash.

As an alternative, policy makers sought to follow the example of British Liberals, who had turned to income taxation in order to finance the Crimean War without heavy property taxation. Justin Morrill, (R-VT), Chairman of the Ways and Means Subcommittee on Taxation and the architect of the regressive tariff structure, introduced a proposal for the first federal income tax. Because it did not tax property directly, congressional leaders viewed the income tax as indirect, and thus immune from constitutional strictures.

The first income tax was moderately progressive and ungraduated, imposing a 3 percent tax on annual incomes over $800 that exempted most wage earners. These taxes were not even collected until 1862, making alternative financing schemes like the Legal Tender Act critical in the interim. The Internal Revenue Act of 1862 expanded the progressive nature of the earlier act while adding graduations: It exempted the first $600, imposed a 3 percent rate on incomes between $600 and $10,000, and a 5 percent rate on those over $10,000. The act exempted businesses worth less than $600 from value added and receipts taxes. Taxes were withheld from the salaries of government employees as well as from dividends paid to corporations (the same method of collection later employed during World War II). In addition, the "sin" excise taxes imposed in the 1862 act were designed to fall most heavily on products purchased by the affluent. Thaddeus Stevens lauded the progressivity of the tax system:

"While the rich and the thrifty will be obliged to contribute largely from the abundance of their means . . . no burdens have been imposed on the industrious laborer and mechanic . . . The food of the poor is untaxed and no one will be affected by the provisions of this bill whose living depends solely on his manual labor."

But the war grew increasingly costly (topping $2 million per day in its latter stages) and difficult to finance. The government’s ability to borrow fluctuated with battlefield fortunes. The Confederate navy harassed northern shipping, reducing customs receipts. And inevitable administrative problems reduced the expected receipts from income and excise tax collection.

In response, Congress approved two new laws in 1864 that increased tax rates and expanded the progressivity of income taxation. The first bill passed in June upped inheritance, excise, license, and gross receipts business taxes, along with stamp duties and ad valorem manufacturing taxes. The same act proceeded to assess incomes between $600 and $5,000 at 5 percent, those between $5,000 and $10,000 at 7.5 percent, and established a maximum rate of 10 percent. Despite protest by certain legislators regarding the unfairness of graduated rates, the 1864 act affirmed this method of taxing income according to "ability to pay." An emergency income tax bill passed in July imposed an additional tax of 5 percent on all incomes in excess of $600, on top of the rates set by previous income tax bills. Congress had discovered that the income tax, in addition to its rhetorical value, also provided a flexible and lucrative source of revenue. Receipts increased from over $20 million in 1864 (when collections were made under the 1862 income tax) to almost $61 million in 1865 (when collections were made under the 1864 act and emergency supplement).

The affluent upper middle classes of the nation’s commercial and industrial centers complied widely with the income tax. 10 percent of all Union households had paid some form of income tax by war’s end residents of the northeast comprised 15 percent of that total. In fact, the northeast, a sector of American society that owned 70 percent of the nation’s wealth in 1860, provided the most critical tax base, remitting 75 percent of the revenues. In total, the North raised 21 percent of its war revenue through taxation, as opposed to the South, which raised just 5 percent this way.

Government and Politics

The Confederate government was closely modeled on that of the federal Union. The most conspicuous differences were the single, six-year terms for the president and vice president, and the failure to establish a Confederate supreme court, provision for which had been made in the new constitution. In November 1861, Jefferson Davis and Alexander Stephens were elected president and vice president under the permanent constitution. As provisional president, Davis had selected his cabinet initially upon the basis of state representation. Filling the most important positions were Robert Toombs of Georgia as secretary of state, Christopher G. Memminger of South Carolina as secretary of the treasury, and Leroy P. Walker of Alabama as secretary of war. Anxious to pursue his military and political ambitions, Toombs resigned in July 1861 and was replaced by Robert M. T. Hunter of Virginia, the first of many cabinet changes that Davis was forced to make. In total, the Confederacy had four secretaries of state, five attorney generals, two secretaries of the treasury, and six secretaries of war. Probably the most able cabinet member was Judah P. Benjamin of Louisiana, whose prominent role in the Davis administration aroused resentment because of his Jewish background. Benjamin served the Confederacy between 1861 and 1865 as attorney general, secretary of war, and secretary of state.

The Confederate congress sat as a provisional unicameral body during the republic's first year and was replaced by a permanent senate and house in February 1862. The congress's contribution to Confederate governance was undermined by its high turnover of personnel: only about 10 percent of members served continuously from 1861 to 1865, with many of the South's planter-politicians preferring to serve in the army rather than the legislature. Overseeing the senate was the vice president Alexander Stephens, who emerged as one of Davis's most passionate critics. Political opposition to Davis was apparent from early in the war, but it intensified after the congressional elections of 1863, which, despite their low turnout, represented a judgment on the Confederate government's conduct of the war, indeed on the Confederacy itself. The second Confederate congress, which convened in May 1864, saw a significant rise in the number of antiadministration members. Despite constant disagreement, however, the Confederate president in the main kept control of policymaking and was generally supported by the legislature on important issues. Jefferson Davis exercised his veto power thirty-nine times, and on every occasion except one — a bill to allow free postage on soldiers' newspapers — Congress upheld his action. As defeat in the war approached in early 1865, the legislature, led by the volatile senator Louis Wigfall of Texas, sought to assert its authority over the president by insisting on changes to the civil and military administration. The demands included the resignation of the cabinet, which Davis resisted even while accepting the departure of James A. Seddon, the secretary of war, and the granting of extra power to the general-in-chief, Robert E. Lee, to which the president acceded.

By far, the Confederacy's most significant departure from previous American practice was the absence of a two-party system. Secession and Confederate founding in many respects had been a reaction against party politics, which Davis and other leaders, reverting to an earlier ideology, regarded as corrupting and antipathetic to their vision of southern unity. But political opposition to the Davis government could not be stilled, and, from the outset, serious differences arose over major aspects of wartime policy, including conscription and impressment. In the absence of political parties, opposition was fragmented, individualistic, and often highly personal in tone. Much of the public opposition to the Davis administration came from governors, who were anxious to protect state prerogatives against the encroachments of Confederate nationalism, and by far the most persistent of the gubernatorial critics was Governor Joseph E. Brown of Georgia, who viewed the policy of conscription as destructive of both states' rights and popular liberty. Although states' rights opposition may have helped undermine public confidence in Davis's conduct of the war, it failed to deflect the president, whose actions were endorsed by Congress and, crucially, by state supreme courts that invariably found the conscription legislation to be constitutional.

How Dixie’s History Got Whitewashed

The United Daughters of the Confederacy were once a powerful force in public education across the South, right down to rewriting history: slaves were happy, y’all.

Kevin M. Levin

Courtesy Of Christopher Dickey

Earlier this week Vanderbilt University announced that it would remove the word “Confederate” from the stone pediment at the entrance to a campus dormitory known as Memorial Hall. The decision brings to a close a long-standing dispute between the university and the Tennessee division of the United Daughters of the Confederacy, which provided the funds for the construction of the building and claimed naming rights in 1933. As part of the agreement, the school will pay the UDC $1.2 million or the present value of their initial $50,000 donation. This decision is the latest in a string of high-profile moves to remove Confederate iconography from public and private places as well as a reflection of the UDC’s long decline.

The women who founded the UDC in 1894 were committed to preserving and defending the memory of Confederate soldiers and their cause. By World War I, membership in the UDC had reached roughly 100,000. While chapters were eventually established throughout the country, they remained most influential in the South, where they organized Decoration Day ceremonies, monument dedications, and raised money to support veterans in their old age. Their most important function, however, was the overseeing of how history was taught to the next generation on the high school and college levels. Students were expected to assume the responsibility of defending their ancestors once the generation that lived through the war had died. They did this primarily by authorizing textbooks for classroom use and rejecting those they deemed to be a threat to the memory of the Confederate soldier.

The UDC promoted histories that celebrated the Confederate cause by praising leaders like Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson and ignoring or re-interpreting the central cause of the war, namely slavery. Consider Susan Pendleton Lee’s 1895 textbook, A School History of the United States, in which she declared that although abolitionists had declared slavery to be a “moral wrong,” most Southerners believed that “the evils connected with it were less than those of any other system of labor.” “Hundreds of thousands of African savages,” according to the author, “had been Christianized under its influence—the kindest relations existed between the slaves and their owners.” It should come as no surprise that in her account of Reconstruction, the Ku Klux Klan was necessary “for protection against . . . outrages committed by misguided negroes.”

By the first decade of the 20 th century and with the encouragement of the UDC, most Southern states established textbook commissions to oversee and recommend books for all public schools that provided a “fair and impartial” interpretation. These committees worked diligently to challenge publishers who stood to threaten the South’s preferred story of the war: “Southern schools and Southern teachers have prepared books which Southern children may read without insult or traduction of their fathers. Printing presses all over the Southland—and all over the Northland—are sending forth by thousands ones which tell the true character of the heroic struggle. The influence . . . of the South forbid[s] longer the perversion of truth and falsification of history.”

Perhaps the best example of the oversight exercised by the UDC was through the efforts of Mildred L. Rutherford of Georgia, who served as the organization’s “Historian General.” In 1919 Rutherford published A Measuring Rod to Test Text Books and Reference Books in Schools, Colleges, and Libraries. The book was recommended for “all authorities charged with the selection of text-books for colleges, schools, and all scholastic institutions” and recommended that “all library authorities in the southern States mark all books in their collections which do not come up to the same measure, on the title page thereof, ‘Unjust to the South.’”

Rutherford’s recommendations included rejecting books that spoke of the Constitution as anything other than as a compact between sovereign states. Textbooks were also rejected that did not clearly outline the interferences with the rights guaranteed to the South by the Constitution, which it was believed led directly to secession. Any book that suggested that the Confederacy fought to protect slavery was rejected. This also held for any book that characterized slaveholders of the South as cruel and unjust to their chattel. Finally, Abraham Lincoln was not to be glorified nor Jefferson Davis vilified.

In response to some of the most egregious violations having to do with the history of slavery, Rutherford offered a number of corrections. She suggested that “Southern men were anxious for the slaves to be free. They were studying earnestly the problem of freedom, when Northern fanatical Abolitionists took matters into their own hands.” And in a claim that is still today widely repeated, Rutherford argued that, “Gen. Lee freed his slaves before the war began and Gen. Ulysses S. Grant did not free his until the war ended.”

The effort made by the UDC to control history textbooks paid off immeasurably and continued to shape how Americans remembered the Civil War well into the 20 th century. As late as the ’70s, the state of Virginia still used the popular textbook Virginia: History, Government, Geography by Francis B. Simkins, Spotswood H. Jones, and Sidman P. Poole, first published in 1957. Its chapter on slavery—“How the Negroes Lived under Slavery”—featured a well-dressed African-American family on board a ship shaking hands with a white man, who is presumed to be the family’s new owner. Here is how it describes slavery:

A feeling of strong affection existed between masters and slaves in a majority of Virginia homes . . . The house servants became almost as much a part of the planter’s family circle as its white members . . . The Negroes were always present at family weddings. They were allowed to look on at dances and other entertainments . . . A strong tie existed between slave and master because each was dependent on the other … The slave system demanded that the master care for the slave in childhood, in sickness, and in old age. The regard that master and slaves had for each other made plantation life happy and prosperous. Life among the Negroes of Virginia in slavery times was generally happy. The Negroes went about in a cheerful manner making a living for themselves and for those for whom they worked . . . But they were not worried by the furious arguments going on between Northerners and Southerners over what should be done with them. In fact, they paid little attention to these arguments.

It is unclear what the UDC will do with the $1.2 million payment, but one thing is certain and that is they will not be able to use it to push the agenda of their forebears. Their preferred historical narrative has been largely discredited over the past few decades and the organization itself is now largely ceremonial.

In the wake of Vanderbilt’s decision, some have expressed concern that in changing the name of the building the university is “erasing history.” Such claims are ironic given the UDC’s efforts to control and distort (for their own self-serving purposes) the teaching of history that takes place on high school and college campuses every day across the country.

Kevin M. Levin is a historian and educator based in Boston. He is the author of Remembering the Battle of the Crater: War as Murder (2012) and is currently at work on Searching For Black Confederate Soldiers: The Civil War’s Most Persistent Myth. You can find him online at Civil War Memory and Twitter @kevinlevin.

Confederate Army History

The confederacy was created at the start of the American Civil War. In 1860, when Abraham Lincoln won the election, the southern states began seceding from the Union. They decided to create a confederacy and thus having an organization by which to make decisions. The strength of the Confederate Army was half of the Union Army. There were only so many soldiers who were against the Federal Forces and the Central government.

There were not only Army men of the Union in the Confederate Army, but also the prisoners who were captured in the war from different skirmishes. They also included the Native Americans. There were around 28,693 Native Americans who served both in the Union and Confederate Army. The Confederate Army had African Americans and Chinese. The incomplete and destroyed records give an inaccurate number of the numbers that served in Confederate Army, but as far as best estimates 1.5 million soldiers participated in civil war against Union Army.

Effects of the Confederate Constitution

By limiting the power of the central government, the founders of the Confederacy also limited its ability to make war. States could refuse use of their militia to the Confederate government and sometimes did if they felt the men were needed for defense at home. The constitution also severely restricted the government’s ability to raise money, a situation made more acute by the expense of war. Inflation soared, resulting in "bread riots" in many places, including the capital of Richmond.

On April 2, 1865, that capital fell to Union forces. President Davis and his cabinet fled with the treasury he intended to reestablish the government west of the Mississippi, but on May 10 he was captured near Irwinville, Georgia.

The Confederacy had lasted barely four years. Whether it could have ultimately been successful had it won the war or if there had been no war is questionable. Even within its brief lifetime, some states of the Confederacy were already threatening to secede from it over dissatisfaction with the Davis Administration.


  • The preambles of both the U.S. and the Confederate Constitutions have some similarities, but it seems that the Confederate Constitution authors set out to give a different feel to the new preamble. Both preambles are provided here. The bold text shows the differences between them. The Confederate Constitution's preamble includes references to God, a perpetual government, and the sovereignty and the independence of each state.
    • The Preamble to the U.S. Constitution: "We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America." [4]
    • 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 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]

    Article summaries Edit

    The Confederate Constitution followed the U.S. Constitution for the most part in the main body of the text but with some changes:

    Article I differences Edit

    • Amended Article I Section 2(1) to prohibit persons "of foreign birth" who were "not a citizen of the Confederate States" from voting "for any officer, civil or political, State or Federal." [6]
    • Article I Section 2(3) is essentially the same, and the clause still counts only "three-fifths of all slaves" [7] for the population total of each state, just as it did in the US with the Three-Fifths Compromise: "The number of Representatives shall not exceed one for every fifty thousand". [7] while in the U.S. Constitution "The Number of Representatives shall not exceed one for every thirty Thousand." [8] A proposed Amendment to the U.S. Constitution which had been awaiting ratification by the states would have changed the maximum number of representatives to one for every fifty thousand.
    • Amended Article I Section 2(5) to allow the state legislatures to impeach federal officials who live and work only within their state with a two-thirds vote of both houses of the state legislature. [7]
    • Concerning the appointment of Senators, Article I Section 3(1) adds "at the regular session next immediately preceding the commencement of the term of service." [9] The state legislature, which then was responsible for the appointment of senators, had to wait until the seat was vacant.
    • Article I Section 4(1) deals with elections and adds "subject to the provisions of this Constitution" [10] to the U.S. Constitution Clause. That meant that each state legislature was free to make its own decision except if the constitution laid out other rules. The aforementioned Article I Section 2(1) and Article I Section 3(1) clauses would fall into that category.
    • Amended Article I Section 6(2) to allow the House of Representatives and the Senate the ability to grant seats to the heads of each executive department to discuss issues involving their departments with Congress. The clause is the same as the one from the U.S. Constitution and adds:
    • Amended Article I Section 7(2) to provide the President of the Confederate States of America with a line-item veto but also required any bill in which the president used the veto in to be resubmitted to both houses for a possible override vote by two thirds of both houses.
    • In an attempt to prevent the Confederate Congress from protecting industry, the framers added to Article I Section 8(1):

    Article I Section 8(3) added quite a bit to the U.S. Constitution in an attempt to block the Confederate Congress from passing laws to "facilitate commerce," [12] with some exceptions allowing for safety and improvement to waterways.

    Article I Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution.

    • There are changes and additions to Article 1 Section 9 Clauses (1), (2), and (4) that are covered in the Slavery section below.
    • The first twelve amendments to the U.S. Constitution, including the Bill of Rights, were directly incorporated into the Confederate Constitution. That was done primarily in Article I Section 9 of the Confederate Constitution, with the first eight amendments to the U.S. Constitution becoming clauses (12) to (19). [14][15]
    • In addition to were three altogether-new clauses in the Confederate Constitution for Article I, Section 9.
    • Article I, Section 9(9)
    • Amendments I through VIII are contained, in the same order, in Article I, Section 9(12) through Article I, Section 9(19) (the remainder of the US Bill of Rights is in Article VI).
    • Article I, Section 9(20) was added to limit new bills to only one subject presented.
    • Article I Section 10(3): Confederate States did not have the ability to tax ships and negotiate treaties concerning waterways with other States without the consent of Congress. That clause limited the Confederate States in their ability to keep troops or to engage in war, but they would have the ability to enter compacts for the improvement of shared rivers.

    Article II Edit

    • The President of the Confederate States of America is to be elected by electors, chosen by the individual states, for a single six-year term, rather than a then-unlimited number of four-year terms. Article 2 Section 1(1) reads as: "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."[6]
    • Amendment XII of the U.S. Constitution is added here as Article II Section 1(3), (4), and (5)[6][17]
    • Article II Section 1(7) of the Confederate Constitution required candidates for the President of the Confederacy to have resided "within the limits of the Confederate States" for 14 years. [6]

    Changes to Article III

    • Article III Section 2(1) of the Confederate Constitution combines the first clause of Article III Section 1 in the U.S. Constitution with Amendment XI. The phrase "citizens of the same state" [18] is left out and "and foreign states, citizens or subjects but no state shall be sued by a citizen or subject of any foreign state" [19] is added in the Confederate Constitution.

    Changes to Article IV

    • There were changes and additions to Article IV Section 2(1) and Article IV Section 3(3), which are covered in the Slavery section below.
    • Article IV Section 3(1) required a two-thirds of both houses of Congress vote for a new state to join the Confederacy.

    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. [20]

    Changes to Article V

    • The Confederate Congress, unlike in the U.S. Constitution, could not propose amendments. Instead, amendments had to be proposed by constitutional conventions in at least three states. [21] The Confederate Constitution also clarified an ambiguity in the U.S. Constitution's Article V by declaring that a national convention could propose only amendments that were suggested by state conventions, as opposed to having the authority to amend the entire Constitution. The process of amendment became easier (Article V Section 1(1)) by requiring only two thirds of the states to ratify, rather than three fourths.

    Changes to Article VI

    • The Confederate Constitution added a clause to aid with the transition from the provisional government.

    Article VI Section 1(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. [22]
    • Amendments IX and X of the U.S. Constitution were added here as Article VI Section 1(5), and (6)[23][24][25]

    Changes to Article VII

    • Article VII Section 1(2), with instructions for electing permanent officials after the ratification of the Confederate Constitution, was added.

    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. [26]

    Differences by subject Edit

    Slavery Edit

    There were several major differences between the constitutions concerning slavery.

    • Whereas the original U.S. Constitution did not use the word "slavery" or the term "Negro Slaves" [27] but instead used "Person[s] held to Service or Labour," [28] which included whites and Native Americans in indentured servitude, the Confederate Constitution addresses the legality of slavery directly and by name. [29]
    • Though Article I, Section 9(1), of both constitutions are quite similar in banning the importation of slaves from foreign nations, the Confederate Constitution permitted the Confederate States to import slaves from the United States and specified the "African race" as the subject. The importation of slaves into the United States, including the South, had been illegal since 1808. [30]
    • The Confederate Constitution then added a clause that gave Congress the power to prohibit the importation of slaves from any non-Confederate state.
    • The U.S. Constitution states in Article IV, Section 2, "The Citizens of each State shall be entitled to all Privileges and Immunities of Citizens in the several States." The Confederate Constitution added that a state government could not prohibit the rights of slave owners traveling or visiting from a different state with their slaves.
    • The Confederate Constitution added a clause about the question of slavery in the territories, the key constitutional debate of the 1860 election, by explicitly stating slavery to be legally protected in the territories.

    States' rights Edit

    The Confederate Constitution's preamble included the phrase "each State acting in its sovereign and independent character," which focused the new constitution on the rights of the individual states.

    • The Preamble to the Confederate Constitution, began, "We, the people of the Confederate States, each State acting in its sovereign and independent character. " [1]

    States of the Confederacy gained several rights that states of the Union do not have, such as the right to impeach federal judges and other federal officers if they worked or lived solely in their state.

    • The Confederate Constitution omitted the phrase "emit Bills of Credit" from Article 1 Section 10 of the U.S. Constitution, which denied the states the right to issue such bills of credit.
    • The Confederate Constitution enabled states to tax ships by omitting the phrase from the U.S. Constitution that prohibits it.
    • Also in Article I Section 10(3), the Confederate States had the power to make treaties between one another concerning waterways.

    The Confederate States lost a few rights that the Union states retained.

    • States lost the right to determine if foreigners can vote in their states: Article I Section 2(1) as mentioned above.
    • States also lost the ability to restrict the rights of traveling and sojourning slave owners: Article IV Section 2(1) as mentioned above. (Many Southerners were already of the opinion that the U.S. Constitution already protected the rights of sojourning and traveling slave owners and that the Confederate Constitution merely made it explicit.)
    • The Confederate Congress could determine taxes between states.
    • The Confederate Constitution contained many of the phrases and clauses that had led to disagreement among US states, including a Supremacy Clause, a Commerce Clause, and a Necessary and Proper Clause. The Supremacy Clause and the Necessary and Proper Clause are nearly identical in both constitutions. [12][35][13][22]
      • The Commerce Clause differed as follows in that the Confederate Congress was prevented from passing laws to "facilitate commerce," [12] as is shown above.

      The signers and the states they represented were:

        , President of the Congress
    • South Carolina: R. Barnwell Rhett, C. G. Memminger, Wm. Porcher Miles, James Chesnut, Jr., R. W. Barnwell, William W. Boyce, Laurence Keitt, T. J. Withers
    • Georgia: R. Toombs, Francis S. Bartow, Martin J. Crawford, Alexander H. Stephens, Benjamin H. Hill, Thos. R. R. Cobb, E. A. Nisbet, Augustus R. Wright, A. H. Kenan
    • 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: John Perkins Jr., Alex. de Clouet, C. M. Conrad, Duncan F. Kenner, Henry Marshall, Edward Sparrow
    • Texas: John Hemphill, Thomas N. Waul, John H. Reagan, Williamson S. Oldham, Louis T. Wigfall, John Gregg, William Beck Ochiltree
    • Congress began to move for ratification of the Confederate States Constitution on March 11, 1861:

      State Date
      1 Alabama March 13, 1861 [36]
      2 Georgia March 16, 1861 [37]
      3 Louisiana March 21, 1861 [38]
      4 Texas March 23, 1861 [39]
      5 Mississippi March 29, 1861 [40]
      6 South Carolina April 3, 1861 [41]
      7 Florida April 22, 1861 [42]

      Although the Confederate States Supreme Court was never constituted, the supreme courts of the various Confederate states issued numerous decisions interpreting the Confederate Constitution. Unsurprisingly, since the Confederate Constitution was based on the United States Constitution, the Confederate State Supreme Courts often used United States Supreme Court precedents. The jurisprudence of the Marshall Court thus influenced the interpretation of the Confederate Constitution. The state courts repeatedly upheld robust powers of the Confederate Congress, especially on matters of military necessity. [43]

      Contemporary historians overwhelmingly agree that secession was motivated by the preservation of slavery. There were numerous causes for secession, but the preservation and the expansion of slavery were easily the most important of them. The confusion may come from blending the causes of secession with the causes of the war, which are separate but related issues. (Lincoln entered a military conflict not to free the slaves but to put down a rebellion.) According to the historian Kenneth M. Stampp, each side supported states' rights or federal power only when it was convenient to do so. [44] Stampp also cited Confederate Vice President Alexander Stephens's A Constitutional View of the Late War Between the States as an example of a Southern leader who said that slavery was the "cornerstone of the Confederacy" when the war began but, after the Southern defeat, said that the war had been instead about states' rights. [45]

      According to an 1861 speech delivered by the Alabama politician Robert Hardy Smith, the State of Alabama declared its secession from the United States to preserve and to perpetuate the practice of slavery, the debate over which he referred to as the "Negro quarrel." In his speech, Smith praised the Confederate constitution for its lack of euphemisms and its succinct protections of the right to own "Negro" slaves:

      We have dissolved the late Union chiefly because of the negro quarrel. Now, is there any man who wished to reproduce that strife among ourselves? And yet does not he, who wished the slave trade left for the action of Congress, see that he proposed to open a Pandora's box among us and to cause our political arena again to resound with this discussion. Had we left the question unsettled, we should, in my opinion, have sown broadcast the seeds of discord and death in our Constitution. I congratulate the country that the strife has been put to rest forever, and that American slavery is to stand before the world as it is, and on its own merits. We have now placed our domestic institution, and secured its rights unmistakably, in the Constitution. We have sought by no euphony to hide its name. We have called our negroes 'slaves', and we have recognized and protected them as persons and our rights to them as property.

      The Georgia Democrat Alexander H. Stephens, who would become the Confederate vice president, stated within his Cornerstone Speech that the Confederate constitution was "decidedly better than" the American one, as the former "put at rest, forever, all the agitating questions relating to our peculiar institution. African slavery as it exists amongst us the proper status of the negro in our form of civilization. This was the immediate cause of the late rupture and present revolution. Jefferson in his forecast, had anticipated this, as the 'rock upon which the old Union would split.' He was right." [49]

      American Civil War

      In February of 1861 many of the states in the southern part of the United States decided to form their own country. They called it the Confederate States of America. However, the northern states did not agree that these states had the right to leave. This started the Civil War.

      South Carolina Secedes

      The first state to leave the United States was South Carolina on December 20, 1860. When a state leaves a country it's called seceding. This means they didn't want to be a part of the United States any more and wanted to make their own government. By February of 1861 a number of states had seceded including Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Florida, Louisiana, and Texas. Later, North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, and Arkansas would join them.

      When the Southern states actually seceded and formed their own country, Abraham Lincoln and many others were shocked. They didn't think that the states would really leave. When President Lincoln became president he was determined to reunite all the states under one government.

      Why did the Southern States leave?

      • State rights - The leaders in the South wanted the states to make most of their own laws. In the North, people wanted a stronger national government that would make the same laws for all the states.
      • Slavery - Most of the Southern states had economies based on farming and felt they needed slave labor to help them farm. The North was more industrialized and much of the North had made slavery illegal. The South was afraid that the Northern states would vote to make slavery illegal in all the states.
      • Western States - As there were more and more western states added to the growing United States, the Southern states were worried that this would mean less power and voting rights.
      • Abraham Lincoln - When Abraham Lincoln was elected president, it was the final straw for the Southern states. Lincoln was against slavery and wanted a strong federal government, two things the South did not agree with.

      Who led the Confederation?

      The President of the Confederation was Jefferson Davis from Mississippi. The Confederation had its own set of laws called the Confederate Constitution. Military leaders for the Confederation Army included Robert E. Lee, Stonewall Jackson, and James Longstreet.

      The Confederation acted like an official government. They had their own money, their own capital city (it was first in Montgomery, Alabama and later in Richmond, Virginia), and they tried to form alliances with foreign countries like Britain and France. Britain and France did not recognize the Confederation as a country, however. Neither did any other foreign country. Not having allies hurt the Southern states in the end.

      Watch the video: Is the South racist? We asked South Carolinians. AJ+ (July 2022).


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