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Confederate Constitution


The Constitution of the Confederate States of America, adopted in 1861, closely followed, and was in a sense a commentary upon, the Constitution of the United States. The most important points of divergence were: provision for the heads of executive departments to sit and speak in the Congress, a single six-year term for the President, a line-item veto power over appropriations, explicit provision for presidential power to remove appointed officials, and the requirement of a two-thirds vote in each house to admit new states.

The Confederate Constitution prohibited laws impairing the right of property in slaves; but it also prohibited the foreign slave trade (except with the United States). Other innovations included a ban on federal expenditures for internal improvements and provision for state duties on sea-going vessels, to be used for improvement of harbors and navigable waters. The amending process provided for a convention of the states to be summoned by Congress upon the demand of state conventions; Congress did not have the power to propose amendments itself.

The provisions of the bill of rights of the United States Constitution were written into the body of the Confederate Constitution, as were those of the eleventh and twelfth amendments.

Dennis J. Mahoney


Coulter, E. Merton 1950 The Confederate States of America, 1861–1865. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press.

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