The Confederate Constitutions

The Confederate Constitutions

The Confederate Constitutions

The Confederate Constitutions

Excerpt

In contrast to the voluminous and detailed treatment of the military aspects of the Confederate States of America, the constitutional history of the nation has been virtually ignored. Confederate military activity from Fort Sumter to Appomattox may be dramatic and interesting, but the constitutional foundation of the Confederacy is only slightly less interesting, and, certainly, equal in significance. This study treats the framing and adoption of the two Confederate Constitutions by the fifty delegates of the seven seceded states of the lower South at the Montgomery Convention and the ratification of the Permanent Constitution.

Because of the similarities between the United States Constitution and the Confederate Constitution, historians have given little attention to the latter document. The similarities are striking, but the differences are more significant in that they represent the Southern dissatisfaction under the United States Constitution during the seven decades preceding the Civil War. An understanding of the similarities and differences between the two constitutions is important for the insight it gives into the greatest domestic crisis in United States history. The Confederate Constitutions not only represent the constitutional philosophy of the "Founding Fathers" of the new nation but also represent a milestone in United States constitutional development, and many of their provisions stand as a legacy in governmental reform.

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