Formation of the Confederacy

In February 1861, representatives from the seven seceded states met in Montgomery, Alabama to found the Confederate States of America. They hoped for a peaceful separation from the North. They did not consider their secession to have been illegal, and they favored a constitution without radical innovations. The new constitution was remarkably similar to the U.S. Constitution, often a word-for-word duplication. Notable changes included:

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

The unicameral legislature with active participation by cabinet members blends some aspects of the British House of Commons with the U.S. Congress. It's interesting to note that the international trade in slaves was prohibited, although naturally the right to own slaves within the Confederacy was maintained.

Various candidates for the position of president of the Confederacy emerged. William Yancey of Alabama was well qualified but the border states regarded him as too radical. Robert Toombs of Georgia was held back by his tendency towards intemperate speech. The ultimate choice was Jefferson Davis of Mississippi, a politician, planter, and war hero.

For vice-president, the Confederate Congress picked Senator Alexander Stephens of Georgia. This was not a fortunate choice, as Stephens wanted to be president and, failing that, spent the war years looking for a way out of it.

- - - Books You May Like Include: ----

Civil War Winchester by Jerry W. Holsworth.
The Confederacy’s lynchpin in the Shenandoah Valley, Winchester was the most disputed town of the Civil War. As control shifted between North and Sout...
Lee's Tarnished Lieutenant: James Longstreet and His Place in Southern History by William Garrett Piston.
In the South, one can find any number of bronze monuments to the Confederacy featuring heroic images of Robert E. Lee, Stonewall Jackson, J. E. B. Stu...
Gods and Generals by Jeff Shaara.
This is the interweaving story of four men. On the Union side, Joshua Chamberlain and Winfield Scott Hancock both became heroes at Gettysburg. For the...
Bloody Crimes: The Chase for Jefferson Davis and the Death Pageant for Lincoln's Corpse by James L. Swanson.
On the morning of April 2, 1865, Jefferson Davis, president of the Confederacy, received a telegram from General Robert E. Lee. There is no more time-...
Mary Chesnut: A Diary From Dixie by Mary Boykin Chesnut.
This original diary of the wife of Confederate General James Chestnut, Jr., who was also an aide to President Jefferson Davis, provides an eyewitness ...
Jefferson Davis, American by William J. Cooper.
The title might seem odd, given that Jefferson Davis (1808-89) served as president of the Confederacy during the Civil War, and never once, in the 34...

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