The Confederate Constitution: What your elementary school didn’t teach you

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CMWinkler

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The Confederate Constitution: What your elementary school didn’t teach you

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Posted: Sunday, June 30, 2013 9:57 am
David John Marotta and Megan Russell
At the start of 1861, several Southern states seceded to form their own union under the Constitution of the Confederate States. The Confederate Constitution was just a modified version of the original U.S. Constitution, but the edits were significant.
The South seceded largely over economic issues. Heavy-hitting tariffs on manufactured goods protected Northern industries while making Southern costs skyrocket. Meanwhile, 90 percent of the Union’s revenue came from those tariffs and then was spent to help the North.

Slavery certainly was a factor in the Civil War. But it was partly the economic pressures on the South that made slavery an issue.
Other countries were compensating slave owners, using government revenue to ease the transition away from slavery. In the United States, however, the North was tightening the economic screws. It exploited the South with tariffs and spent the revenue on its own largess.
Two days before Lincoln’s inauguration in March 1861, Northern congressmen passed the Morrill Tariff. It steeply raised tariffs on politically popular Northern manufactured goods.
Previous tariffs had been a percentage of the purchase price. The practice of providing a phony invoice for a lower amount alleviated much of the tariff’s harm. The Morrill Tariff removed this possibility. It required a specific duty per quantity of the imported item regardless of the purchase price.
With the South peacefully seceded, it was impossible to count on its cooperation. But Lincoln was expected to enforce the Morrill Tariff. A group of Virginian commissioners were deputized to determine if Lincoln would use force and suggested he abandon Fort Sumter.
Lincoln responded, “If I do that, what would become of my revenue? I might as well shut up housekeeping [a euphemism for federal spending] at once!” With 90 percent of his revenue coming from tariffs collected in the South, the Southern secession meant the union’s budget would take a cut.
He went on to say, “But what am I to do in the meantime with those men at Montgomery?” — meaning the Confederate constitutional convention. “Am I to let them go on... [a]nd open Charleston, etc., as ports of entry, with their ten-percent tariff? What, then, would become of my tariff?” Just a month before the start of the hostilities of the Civil War, Lincoln had tariff revenue on his mind.
Meanwhile, the Confederate states correctly judged the need for additional checks on the federal government’s power to tax some while benefiting others. The Confederacy is often portrayed as the villain in popular media. But the Confederate edits to the Constitution would have helped prevent a lot of the federal mischief we’ve experienced.
The Confederate states added a prohibition on tariffs protecting specific industries and required all such taxes to be uniform throughout the country. Such a law removed the special-interest lobbying and patronage that elected Lincoln. It was based on the more general principle that if the power doesn’t exist to discriminate among specific industries, there is no incentive to buy the right to wield that power for your own industry’s benefit.
They also removed the general welfare justification for collecting taxes; only providing for the common defense remained.

For the rest: http://www.dailyprogress.com/opinion/guest_columnists/the-confederate-constitution-what-your-elementary-school-didn-t-teach/article_0caceeaa-e18d-11e2-b6d6-001a4bcf6878.html
 

jgoodguy

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Interesting article:

Bit odd that it neglected the following provisions in the CSA Constitution.

Article I


(3) Representatives and direct taxes shall be apportioned among the several States, which may be included within this Confederacy, according to their respective numbers, which shall be determined by adding to the whole number of free persons, including those bound to service for a term of years, and excluding Indians not taxed, three-fifths of all slaves. ,The actual enumeration shall be made within three years after the first meeting of the Congress of the Confederate States, and within every subsequent term of ten years, in such manner as they shall by law direct. The number of Representatives shall not exceed one for every fifty thousand, but each State shall have at least one Representative; and until such enumeration shall be made, the State of South Carolina shall be entitled to choose six; the State of Georgia ten; the State of Alabama nine; the State of Florida two; the State of Mississippi seven; the State of Louisiana six; and the State of Texas six.

(18) To make all laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into execution the foregoing powers, and all other powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the Confederate States, or in any department or officer thereof.
Sec. 9. (I) The importation of negroes of the African race from any foreign country other than the slaveholding States or Territories of the United States of America, is hereby forbidden; and Congress is required to pass such laws as shall effectually prevent the same.

(2) Congress shall also have power to prohibit the introduction of slaves from any State not a member of, or Territory not belonging to, this Confederacy.

(4) No bill of attainder, ex post facto law, or law denying or impairing the right of property in negro slaves shall be passed.
ARTICLE IV

(3) No slave or other person held to service or labor in any State or Territory of the Confederate States, under the laws thereof, escaping or lawfully carried into another, shall, in consequence of any law or regulation therein, be discharged from such service or labor; but shall be delivered up on claim of the party to whom such slave belongs,. or to whom such service or labor may be due.

(3) The Confederate States may acquire new territory; and Congress shall have power to legislate and provide governments for the inhabitants of all territory belonging to the Confederate States, lying without the limits of the several Sates; and may permit them, at such times, and in such manner as it may by law provide, to form States to be admitted into the Confederacy. In all such territory the institution of negro slavery, as it now exists in the Confederate States, shall be recognized and protected be Congress and by the Territorial government; and the inhabitants of the several Confederate States and Territories shall have the right to take to such Territory any slaves lawfully held by them in any of the States or Territories of the Confederate States.

(3) The Confederate States may acquire new territory; and Congress shall have power to legislate and provide governments for the inhabitants of all territory belonging to the Confederate States, lying without the limits of the several Sates; and may permit them, at such times, and in such manner as it may by law provide, to form States to be admitted into the Confederacy. In all such territory the institution of negro slavery, as it now exists in the Confederate States, shall be recognized and protected be Congress and by the Territorial government; and the inhabitants of the several Confederate States and Territories shall have the right to take to such Territory any slaves lawfully held by them in any of the States or Territories of the Confederate States.

As to the alleged economic and tariff benefits, they never happened because the CSA soon was on a war time economy and most if not all the alleged good economic stuff was never implemented. However the slave clauses were implemented and enforced right up to when a slave trader tried to get on to the last train from Richmond with 30 chained slaves and was refused.

Edit
If a Free State wanted to join the CSA because of the alleged economic goodies, it could not without becoming a Slave State.
End-Edit
 
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jgoodguy

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Here we go again with the 90% of tariffs collected in the South. It's the same old, same old.

R

It is very close to be a forbidden Modern Politics subject as the alleged political and economic benefits are related to a couple of Modern political ideologies.
 

rpkennedy

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It is very close to be a forbidden Modern Politics subject as the alleged political and economic benefits are related to a couple of Modern political ideologies.
I agree there but saying that the South paid 90% of the tariffs is just factually incorrect. And to use that "fact" to make conclusions is going to lead to problems.

R
 
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jgoodguy

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"The Confederate Constitution: What your elementary school didn’t teach you"

I wasn't aware that the Confederate constitution was generally part of the elementary school curriculum in the first place. Is that really a thing?

I personally think it should be taught, but the first time little Susie comes home and says did you know what the Confederate Constitution says about slavery?, there would be protests by all the Southern Heritage Groups.
 
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Potomac Pride

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The Confederate Constitution contains some interesting points. The Confederacy advocated a free trade policy and were opposed to protective tariffs. In addition, they also were opposed to subsidies for internal improvements. The economic policy objectives of the south were really incompatible with those of Lincoln and the Republican Party. Lincoln was opposed to free trade and supported tariffs to protect domestic industries as well as subsidies for internal improvements. The estimate that the south provided 90% of the revenue from tariffs may be too high. I have seen other estimates from noted historians that were as low as 30%.
 

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The Confederate Constitution contains some interesting points. The Confederacy advocated a free trade policy and were opposed to protective tariffs. In addition, they also were opposed to subsidies for internal improvements. The economic policy objectives of the south were really incompatible with those of Lincoln and the Republican Party. Lincoln was opposed to free trade and supported tariffs to protect domestic industries as well as subsidies for internal improvements. The estimate that the south provided 90% of the revenue from tariffs may be too high. I have seen other estimates from noted historians that were as low as 30%.
However the problem is that the CSA Constitution was never really implemented. We do not how it would have operated or if after a dose of reality, would fundamental changes been implemented. We do know that much of was advocated for the CSA constitution was set aside for the emergency of war. This implies that loyalty to principals would have been tested in any crisis.
 
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mobile_96

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"The Confederate Constitution: What your elementary school didn’t teach you"

I wasn't aware that the Confederate constitution was generally part of the elementary school curriculum in the first place. Is that really a thing?
Be nice if the authors would show the states, and years, when this was included in the elementary system. Since they made the claim, seems they could prove the fact (assertion?), something I don't expect to see anytime this century.
 

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I am sorry CM. In Georgia my elementary school taught me nothing of the Confederate Constitution or the War between the States for that matter.
 
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rpkennedy

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The Confederate Constitution contains some interesting points. The Confederacy advocated a free trade policy and were opposed to protective tariffs. In addition, they also were opposed to subsidies for internal improvements. The economic policy objectives of the south were really incompatible with those of Lincoln and the Republican Party. Lincoln was opposed to free trade and supported tariffs to protect domestic industries as well as subsidies for internal improvements. The estimate that the south provided 90% of the revenue from tariffs may be too high. I have seen other estimates from noted historians that were as low as 30%.
In the years just prior to the war, Southern ports accounted for about 10% of tariff revenue.

R
 

jgoodguy

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What rights do the states lose under the Confederate constitution?
Constitution of the Confederate States of America

SUMMARY

Overall, the CSA constitution does not radically alter the federal system that was set up under the United States constitution. It is thus very debatable as to whether the CSA was a significantly more pro-"states' rights" country (as supporters claim) in any meaningful sense. At least three states rights are explicitly taken away- the freedom of states to grant voting rights to non-citizens, the freedom of states to outlaw slavery within their borders, and the freedom of states to trade freely with each other.

States only gain four minor rights under the Confederate system- the power to enter into treaties with other states to regulate waterways, the power to tax foreign and domestic ships that use their waterways, the power to impeach federally-appointed state officials, and the power to distribute "bills of credit." When people champion the cause of reclaiming state power from the feds, are matters like these at the tops of their lists of priorities?

As previously noted, the CSA constitution does not modify many of the most controversial (from a states' rights perspective) clauses of the American constitution, including the "Supremacy" clause (6-1-3), the "Commerce" clause (1-8-3) and the "Necessary and Proper" clause (1-8-18). Nor does the CSA take away the federal government's right to suspend habeus corpus or "suppress insurrections."


As far as slave-owning rights go, however, the document is much more effective. Indeed, CSA constitution seems to barely stop short of making owning slaves mandatory. Four different clauses entrench the legality of slavery in a number of different ways, and together they virtually guarantee that any sort of future anti-slave law or policy will be unconstitutional.
 
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Old_Glory

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Other countries were compensating slave owners, using government revenue to ease the transition away from slavery. In the United States, however, the North was tightening the economic screws. It exploited the South with tariffs and spent the revenue on its own largess.
l
Why bother mentioning the tariffs, they should have paid to free the slaves instead of stealing them. They had no intention of ever paying market value for the slaves, they just wanted them gone from the slave owners for as cheaply as possible. I wonder why that made the slave owners so angry?
 

jgoodguy

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Why bother mentioning the tariffs, they should have paid to free the slaves instead of stealing them. They had no intention of ever paying market value for the slaves, they just wanted them gone from the slave owners for as cheaply as possible. I wonder why that made the slave owners so angry?

As Moderator, this appears to be just flame bait. Please post more substantial posts in the future.
 
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