Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Confederate States of America
- For other meanings of confederate and confederacy, see confederacy (disambiguation)
| National Motto|
(Latin: Under God our Vindicator)
|Official language|| |
English de facto nationwide
|Capital|| Montgomery, Alabama|
February 4, 1861–May 29, 1861
May 29, 1861–April 9, 1865
April 3–April 10, 1865
|Largest city|| New Orleans|
February 4, 1861–May 1, 1862
- % water
| (excl. MO & KY)|
- 1860 Census
| (excl. MO & KY)|
(including 3,521,110 slaves)
|see Civil War|
February 4, 1861
only by the Duchy of
Saxe-Coburg and Gotha
April 9, 1865
|Currency|| US dollar ($),|
|National anthem||God Save the South (Unofficial)|
The Confederate States of America (CSA, also known as the Confederacy) was the confederation formed by the southern slave states that seceded from the United States and existed from 1861 to 1865. The seceding states took control of federal forts and custom houses within their boundaries, triggering the American Civil War. Eventually a total of 11 states became part of the Confederacy, including Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia. Missouri and Kentucky never officially seceded, but factions from those states applied for acceptance into the confederacy, and those states are represented as stars on the Confederate battle flag. The five tribal governments of the Indian Territory, which became Oklahoma in 1907, also mainly supported the Confederacy. Some residents in New Mexico and Arizona territories at Mesilla and Tucson also petitioned the Confederate government for annexation of their lands, prompting an expedition in which territory south of the 34th parallel was claimed by the Confederacy. Also note that West Virginia seceded from Virginia and rejoined the Union or United States as a free state in 1863. Martial law was declared in 1861 in Maryland (the state which surrounds Washington, D.C.) to block attempts at secession there. Delaware, also a slave state, never considered secession due to geographic constraints.
For most of its duration, the Confederacy was engaged in the American Civil War in opposition of insurgent Union forces.
Structure and government
The Confederate constitution provides much insight into the motivations for secession from the Union. Based to a certain extent on both the Articles of Confederation and on the United States Constitution, it reflected a stronger philosophy of states' rights, curtailing the power of the central authority, and also contained explicit protection of the institution of slavery, though international slave trade was prohibited. It differed from the US Constitution chiefly by addressing the grievances of the secessionist states against the federal government of the United States. For example, the Confederate government was prohibited from instituting protective tariffs, making southern ports more attractive to international traders. Prior to secession, most southerners regarded protective tariffs as a measure that enriched the northern states at the expense of the south. The Confederate government was also prohibited from using revenues collected in one state for funding internal improvements in another state. At the same time, however, much of the Confederate constitution was a word-for-word duplicate of the US one.
At the drafting of the Constitution of the Confederacy, a few radical proposals such as allowing only slave states to join and the reinstatement of the Atlantic slave trade were turned down. The Constitution specifically did not include a provision allowing states to secede, since the southerners considered this to be a right intrinsic to a sovereign state which the United States Constitution had not required them to renounce, and thus including it as such would have weakened their original argument for secession.
The president of the Confederacy was to be elected to a six-year term and could not be reelected. The only president was Jefferson Davis; the Confederacy was defeated by Union forces before he could finish out his term. One unique power granted to the Confederate president was the ability to subject a bill to a line item veto, a power held by some state governors. The Confederate Congress could overturn either the general or the line item vetoes with the same two thirds majorities that are required in the US Congress.
Printing currency in bills and stamps was authorized and put into circulation, although by the individual states in the Confederacy's name. The government considered issuing Confederate coinage. Plans, dies and 4 "proofs" were created, but a lack of bullion prevented any public coinage.
Although the preamble refers to "each State acting in its sovereign and independent character", it also refers to the formation of a "permanent federal government". Also, although slavery was protected in the constitution, it also prohibited the importation of new slaves from outside the Confederacy.
Although negotiations took place between the Confederacy and several European powers (including France and Britain), and it received material support from Britain, it was never granted formal recognition by any foreign state. Following Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation, Britain and France broke off negotiations.
The capital of the Confederacy was Montgomery, Alabama, from February 4, 1861, until May 29, 1861, when it was moved to Richmond, Virginia. (Richmond was named the new capital on May 6, 1861.) Shortly before the end of the war the Confederate government evacuated Richmond with plans to relocate further south to Atlanta, Georgia, or to Columbia, South Carolina, but little came of this before Lee's surrender at Appomattox. From April 3 to April 10 of 1865, Danville, Virginia served as the last capital of the Confederacy.
The Confederate FlagSee full article
The official flag of the Confederacy, and the one actually called the "Stars and Bars", was sometimes hard to distinguish from the Union flag under battle conditions, so the Confederate battle flag, the "Southern Cross", became the one more commonly used in military operations. As a result, the "Southern Cross" is a flag commonly associated with the Confederacy today. The actual "Southern Cross" is a square shaped flag, but the more commonly seen rectangular flag is actually the flag of the First Tennessee Army. The Stars and Bars had seven stars, for the seven states that had seceded from the Union by the time it was adopted; the Southern Cross had thirteen stars, for the eleven states that did secede and for the two states with competing unionist and secessionist governments that were admitted to the Confederacy, so they had representatives in both governments: Kentucky and Missouri (See Missouri Secession).
|State||Seceded||Admitted C.S.||Readmitted U.S.||Local rule reestablished|
|South Carolina||December 20, 1860||February 4, 1861||July 9, 1868||November 28, 1876|
|Mississippi||January 9, 1861||February 4, 1861||February 23, 1870||January 4, 1876|
|Florida||January 10, 1861||February 4, 1861||June 25, 1868||January 2, 1877|
|Alabama||January 11, 1861||February 4, 1861||July 14, 1868||November 16, 1874|
|Georgia||January 19, 1861||February 4, 1861||July 15, 1870||November 1, 1871|
|Louisiana||January 26, 1861||February 4, 1861|| June 25, 1868|
or July 9, 1868
|January 2, 1877|
|Texas||February 1, 1861||March 2, 1861||March 30, 1870||January 14, 1873|
|Virginia||April 17, 1861||May 7, 1861||January 26, 1870||October 5, 1869|
|Arkansas||May 6, 1861||May 18, 1861||June 22, 1868||November 10, 1874|
|Tennessee||May 6, 1861||May 16, 1861||July 24, 1866||October 4, 1869|
|North Carolina||May 21, 1861||May 16, 1861||July 4, 1868||February 2, 1871|
Political leaders of the Confederacy
- Jefferson Davis (Mississippi) - President of the Confederate States
- Alexander Stephens (Georgia) - Vice-President
- Robert Toombs (Georgia) - (1st) Secretary of State
- Leroy Pope Walker (Alabama) - Secretary of War
- George W. Randolph (Virginia) - Brig. General, then Secretary of War (March - November 1862)
- John C. Breckinridge (Kentucky) - Secretary of War, and former V.P. of the U.S. under James Buchanan
- Judah P. Benjamin (Louisiana) - Attorney General, then Secretary of War, then Secretary of State
- Stephen R. Mallory (Florida) - Secretary of the Navy
- Christopher G. Memminger (South Carolina) - Secretary of the Treasury
- John H. Reagan (Texas) - Postmaster General
- John Tyler- Confederate Congressman-elect, and former U.S. President
- Howell Cobb (Georgia) - President of Congress , and former U.S. Speaker of the House
- William L. Yancey (Alabama) - Senator & Commissioner
- Robert Woodward Barnwell - Chairman of Congress (1861)
The military armed forces of the Confederacy comprised the following three branches:
The Confederate miltiary leadership was almost entirely composed of veteran United States Army and U.S. Navy who had defected or resigned from their U.S. ranks and had been appointed to senior positions in the Confederate armed forces. The Confederate officer corps was composed mostly of southern aristocrats, and the Confederacy appointed junior and field grade officers by election from the enlisted ranks. There was no Army or Naval service academy for the Confederate armed forces; however, many colleges of the south (such as the Virginia Military Institute) maintained cadet corps which were seen as a breeding ground for Confederate military leadership.
The rank and file of the Confederate armed forces consisted of white males with an average age between 16 and 28. Towards the end of the Civil War, boys as young as 12 were fighting in combat roles and the Confederate Armed Forces had even sponsored an all black regiment with measures underway to offer freedom to slaves who voluntary served in the Confederate military.
Military leaders of the Confederacy
- Robert E. Lee (Virginia) - General
- Albert Sidney Johnston (Kentucky) - General
- Joseph E. Johnston (Virginia) - General
- Braxton Bragg (North Carolina) - General
- P.G.T. Beauregard (Louisiana) - General
- James Longstreet (South Carolina) - Lt. General
- Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson (Virginia) - Lt. General
- A.P. Hill (Virginia) - Lt. General
- John Bell Hood (Texas) - Lt. General
- Wade Hampton (South Carolina) Lt. General
- Nathan Bedford Forrest (Tennessee) - Lt. General
- J.E.B. Stuart (Virginia) - Maj. General
- Edward Porter Alexander (Georgia) - Brig. General
- Franklin Buchanan (Maryland) - Admiral
- Raphael Semmes (Maryland) - Rear Admiral
- French Forrest (Maryland) - Acting Assistant Secretary of the Confederate Navy
- Josiah Tattnall (Georgia) - Commodore
- Stand Watie (Indian Territory, now Oklahoma) - General (last to surrender)
- Leonidas Polk (Tennessee & Louisiana) - Bishop & General
- Jubal Anderson Early (Virginia)- Lt. General
- Flags of the Confederate States of America
- Seal of the Confederate States of America
- Confederate States Army
- Stamps and postal history of the Confederate States
- Origins of the American Civil War
- An Act to Prohibit the Importation of Luxuries, or of Articles not Necessary or of Common Use, 1864, a Confederate Congress document
- Confederate States of Am. Army and Navy Uniforms, 1861
- The Countryman, 1862-1866, published weekly by Turnwold, Ga., edited by J.A. Turner
- The Federal and the Confederate Constitution Compared
- The Making of the Confederate Constitution, by A. L. Hull, 1905.
- Official Journal of the House of Representatives of the State of Louisiana, November, 1861
- Photographic History of the Civil War, 10 vols., 1912.
- Preventing Diplomatic Recognition of the Confederacy
- DocSouth: Documenting the American South - numerous online text, image, and audio collections.
- Confederate States of America: Heads of State: 1861-1865
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