Confederate States of
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The Confederate States of America, also
referred to as the Confederacy and the CSA, was an unrecognized power
established in early 1861 by eleven southern slave states that seceded
from the United States of America.
Torn apart primarily by the issue of
slavery, these states also had issues with the Federal Government that
included states' rights, policies favoring Northern over Southern economic interests,
expansionism, modernization, and taxes.
Though many of the disagreements between
the North and South had been brewing since the
ended in 1782, the crisis began to come to a head in the 1850’s as the
nation was growing westward.
As new territories such as
added, the Southern factions felt that slavery should be allowed in
these new territories, while the "Free Soilers” were set against it.
This led to open warfare between
Missouri, generally referred to in history as "Bleeding
Kansas.” One of the many precursors to the
Civil War, these many battles pitted neighbor against neighbor.
If the Confederacy fails, there should be
written on its tombstone: Died of a Theory.
-- Jefferson Davis
States in the CSA
territories claimed by CSA without formal secession and/or control
dispute over the expansion of slavery into new territories and the
Abraham Lincoln as president on November 6, 1860 that finally led
to the secession of eleven Southern states. Though
Lincoln did not propose federal laws making slavery unlawful where
it already existed, his sentiments regarding a "divided nation” were
On December 20, 1860,
South Carolina was
the first state to secede from the
Union and within two months,
Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana and
Texas followed. On February 4, 1861 the Confederate States of
America were organized, and a few days later on February 9, a
provisional government was formed with
President Jefferson Davis at its helm.
After the Confederate attack on Fort Sumter
on April 12, 1861, and
Lincoln's subsequent call for troops on April 15, 1861, four more
states declared their secession, including
Tennessee, and North Carolina.
The border states of Kentucky and
Missouri declared neutrality
very early in the war, as their citizens were divided in their
loyalties. Kentucky gradually came to side with the north; but,
Missouri remained divided for
the duration of the
The southern parts of modern day
also allied with the Confederacy and when the
Union abandoned federal
forts and installations in Indian Territory
the South claimed this territory.
Breaking away from
Virginia during the
Union loyalists would form a new state called West Virginia,
officially admitted to the
Union in June, 1863, but, like other border
states, its population had mixed loyalties.
Organization of the Confederacy
The Confederate States of America were
organized at a congress of delegates from the seceded states of
South Carolina, Georgia,
Florida, Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana which
met at Montgomery, Alabama on February 4, 1861. A provisional
government was established within a few days and on February 9th;
Jefferson Davis was made president and Alexander H. Stephens,
vice-president. This temporary government was to continue only one
year and its constitution was, therefore, not submitted to the states
or the people of the states for ratification. But a '"permanent"
constitution was drawn during the weeks immediately following,
approved by the congress on March 11th and submitted to the
conventions of the seceded states. It was promptly adopted though it
would not to become effective until February 22, 1862.
In the meantime, the provisional government
assumed, with unanimous consent, all the common and general functions
which the states could not exercise. All the initiatory steps of the
in so far as the South was concerned, were taken by this government.
joined the Confederacy in March;
Virginia in April; North Carolina in May;
in June; while large portions of Kentucky and
Missouri also cast in their lots
with the South and sent delegates to the Confederate congresses. The area
thus embraced about 800,000 square miles exclusive of what was held in the
and New Mexico,
and the population of these states and parts of states was about
10,000.000, of which fully 4,000,000 were African-Americans.
With this organization accomplished, the
Confederate authorities then appointed commissioners to Europe and to the
Federal Government to ask for recognition as an independent power. The
commissioners appeared in Washington D.C. and demanded jurisdiction over
the forts and other property of the older government within the bounds of
the seceded states.
Meanwhile, the Confederate Government assumed
the jurisdiction in question, hastened the organization of an army and a
navy and made appropriations and loans for these and other purposes, all
in the most orderly manner and without any opposition on the part of the
people of the southern states, though there was grave dissatisfaction in
the mountain districts where slavery and its influence had not penetrated.
The Federal authorities refused to recognize the Confederate agents or to
concede any rights whatever concerning the forts or other property. But,
the European powers acknowledged the existence of the new nation by
granting it the standing of a belligerent in international law, an
important concession especially in commercial matters and in the
application of the rules of war. It was generally expected that formal
diplomatic recognition would soon follow; and in the North there was a
strong party, supported by the great financial interests of New York,
which advised that the southern states be allowed to "depart in peace."
President Abraham Lincoln thought seriously of such a solution of the
problem and William H. Seward, the Secretary of State, gave the southern
commissioners, A.B. Roman, John Forsyth and Martin Crawford, assurance
that the forts and other property of the Federal Government would be
surrendered without a struggle.
Continued Next Page
Jefferson Davis was the only president of the Confederate States
photo by C.E. Emery, about 1888.
This image available for
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