CONSTITUTION OF THE CSA Here are a few thoughts: The Politically Incorrect Guide to the Civil War, pages 12-13: But the real cornerstone of the Confederate government was the United States Constitution, modestly modified to meet the needs of the Southern people. The Confederate Constitution guaranteed the right to slavery, but the United States Supreme Court had already ruled that slavery was a constitutional right in the Dread Scott case (1857). No great change there. The Confederate Constitution also banned the importation of slaves. There would be no Confederate slave ships. The Constitution guaranteed freedom of speech and religion and incorporated the bill of rights into its basic structure. It limited the president to a single six-year term, granted him a line-item veto to prevent pork-barrel spending, and prohibited the Confederate Congress from issuing any tariffs or otherwise spending money on "internal improvements, " except for basic necessities for navigation, harbor development, and commerce. The Confederate States of America, in short, had formed a republic with a limited government that guaranteed individual and state rights; and unlike the republic up north, didn't insist on subjugating states that didn't want to be part of it. The Confederacy might have had slavery, as the United States did, but it was no tyranny. What the Confederate Constitution sought to do was to preserve what Southerners believed was the original intent of the Constitution, which the North had tried to overturn. To the framers of the Confederate Constitution, sovereignty resided in the people of the states. That's how it had been in the colonial period, and how it was under the Articles of Confederation and under the Constitution of the United States. The North had adopted a view not of sovereign states affiliated within a union, but of a sovereign majority of an American people, represented in the federal government. To Southerners, this interpretation of the Constitution was flat-out wrong. The Constitution, Jefferson Davis pointed out, did not create a new American people; sovereignty continued to reside with the people within their respective states. "The monstrous conception of the creation of a new people, invested with the whole or a great part of the sovereignty which had previously belonged to the people of each State," Davis argued, "has not a syllable to sustain it in the Constitution. " 19 And you don't have to take Jefferson Davis's word for it. Alexis de Tocqueville said much the same in his book Democracy in America: "The confederation [the Union] was formed by the free will of the states; these, by uniting, did not lose their nationality or become fused in one single nation. If today one of those same states wished to withdraw its name from the contract, it would be hard to prove that it could not do so." 20 ++ +++++++++ 19 Jefferson Davis, The Rise and Fall of the Confederate Government, Volume One, (Da Capo Press, 1990), 131. 20. Tocqueville, op. cit., 369.