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Was the CSA constitution an improvement of the USA constituition

Discussion in 'History Forum' started by Salty, Feb 8, 2009.

  1. Yes, the CSA Constitution was much better

    6 vote(s)
  2. The strengths and weakness evened out each other

    1 vote(s)
  3. No, the CSA was inferior to the USA constitution

    1 vote(s)
  4. Other answer

    1 vote(s)
  1. Salty

    Salty 20,000 Posts Club

    Apr 8, 2003
    Likes Received:

    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),
    20. Tocqueville, op. cit., 369.
  2. billwald

    billwald New Member

    Jun 28, 2000
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    In 1776 "state" meant sovereign nation. The 13 colonies signed the Articles of Confederation as 13 sovereign nations, Some years later a meeting was called in Philly to amend the Confederation. In secret meetings the rich people revolted (caused a revolution) and the Constitution was the result.
  3. BigBossman

    BigBossman New Member

    Jan 8, 2009
    Likes Received:
    I voted other because I am not as familiar with the CSA Constitution as with ours. I will say that the Civil War was an unfortunate neccesity. State's right was a big issue then. It should also be a big issue today as well.
  4. ajg1959

    ajg1959 New Member

    Jun 26, 2007
    Likes Received:
    There are many myths about the south, and the war.

    First of all, the war WASNT about slavery. Slavery would have died out even if the war hadnt of happened. Most people in the south were against slavery, but they didnt know what to do with the slaves already there. This is true of the north. Most northerners wanted slavery to end, but didnt actually want the slaves to move north to their community. they thought that the slaves would remain where they were, but just be 'free".

    The North used slavery as a battle cry, to invoke emotion into the fight. Most Southerners that fought couldnt care less about protecting slavery...they were fighting for the right to govern themselves. State rights.

    This brings me to the CSA constitution. It was all about each individual state making its own laws according to the needs of the people.

    And, I believe that to be the best way to govern.

    For instance, I understand why folks in New York City would want to ban guns...they have lots of crime and they are afraid. But, growing up in Arkansas, guns were just a way of life for me and others...and we werent afraid.

    So, why should the folks in Arkansas be restricted with gun laws that only really pertain to folks in New York?

    The Confederate way was the best way, and truthfully, it was the American way in 1776 when this country was founded...we just got away from it.

  5. North Carolina Tentmaker

    Sep 19, 2003
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    I voted even. It all depends on your view and ideology. To the framers and writers, to the leaders of the CSA, I am sure it was a big improvement or at least a return to original intent.

    But what about in view of the United States as a whole? Yes we have given up a lot to the majority with the loss of states rights. But have we accomplished less or more as one nation under God than we ever would have as a confederation of 50 sovereign states?

    I am a Boy Scout leader. When we camp we follow our "Leave no Trace" guidelines, but as scouts we always carry it one step further and "Leave every campsite in better shape than you found it." Is the world as a whole a better place because of our nation? I am sure some Islamic fundamentalist may disagree but I think it is. Would the world be better or worse has we kept the CSA? The answer of course can not be proved and again depends on your perspective.

    The pig and chicken both give up something to make bacon and eggs, but some give more. When is it acceptable to sacrifice the individual for the good of the whole? On one extreme you have libertarianism and anarchy, on the other you have communism.
    #5 North Carolina Tentmaker, Mar 6, 2009
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 6, 2009