The Confederate States of America (CSA, also known as the Confederacy) was the government formed by the southern states that seceded from the United States during the period of the American Civil War. The Confederacy was formed on February 8, 1861 and Jefferson Davis was selected as its first president the next day. For most of its duration, the Confederacy was engaged in the American Civil War against the remainder of the Union.
Its constitution was very similar to that of the United States (or the "Union"), although it reflected a stronger philosophy of states' rights, and it also contained an explicit protection of the institution of slavery. For instance, the federal government was prohibited from issuing protective tariffs or funding internal improvements, but mandated to protect the institution of slavery in the territories. At the drafting of the Constitution of the Confederacy, many radical proposals such as allowing only slave states to join and to reinstate the Atlantic slave trade were turned down, resulting a relatively moderate founding document.
Unlike the U.S. president, 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. 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," thus seeming to deny to the Southern states the very right to secession that they claimed for themselves when they left the United States. Also, although slavery was enshrined 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 England), it was never granted formal recognition by any foreign state.
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). Shortly before the end of the war the Confederate government evacuated Richmond with plans to relocate further south, but little came of this before Lee's surrender.
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 and, therefore, the one most people associate with the Confederacy today. (It is often called the "Stars and Bars," too, but should not be.) 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 that were admitted to the Confederacy but that had either declared neutrality or been prevented from seceding by Union occupation, so they had representatives in both governments: Kentucky and Missouri.
|Stars and Bars||Southern Cross|
See also: Flags of the Confederate States of America
States that seceded
Political leaders of the Confederacy
Military leaders of the Confederacy