Confederate States of America

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Confederate States of America
Confederate States of America
Flag of the Confederate States of America
Seal of the Confederate States of America
Last flag of the Confederate States of America from March 4, 1865 to May 26, 1865 Seal of the Confederate States of America
Motto : Latin Deo Vindice ("With God as our protector")
Official language English (de facto)
Capital Montgomery , Alabama
February 4 to May 29, 1861
Richmond , Virginia
May 29, 1861 to April 9, 1865
Danville , Virginia
April 3 to April 10, 1865
Head of state , also head of government President : Jefferson Davis

Vice President: Alexander Hamilton Stephens

surface 1,995,392 km²
population 9,103,332 (including 3,521,110 slaves) (1860 census)
Population density 4.5 inhabitants per km²
currency CSA dollars
US dollars
founding February 4, 1861
resolution April 9, 1865 ( surrender )
National anthem God Save the South (unofficial)
The Bonnie Blue Flag (popular)
Dixieland (traditional)
Confederate States Territories claimed by the Confederate States of America and proclaimed their political territory, but which were not directly under their control.
Confederate States Territories claimed by the Confederate States of America and proclaimed their political territory, but which were not directly under their control.

Template: Infobox State / Maintenance / NAME-GERMAN

The Confederate States of America ( Confederate States of America , in short CSA ) were a state , in 1861 by splitting off the southern eleven member states of the United States of America (hereinafter USA, also Union) was created. The state, recognized by no other country on earth, ceased to exist in 1865 and its constituent states returned to the United States.

The states concerned are also referred to as the southern states or "slave-owning states ". More precisely, however, some of these states remained in the Union. Slavery was economically viable only in the southern states; their legal regulation was a matter for the individual member states. The Union did not abolish slavery until 1865, and this also applied to the southern states after the end of the Civil War.

The reason for the split was the election of Abraham Lincoln as US President in 1860. This election showed that someone could be elected US President even without the support of the South. Many southern states feared falling behind in the long run, as new US states were slave-free and immigration mostly took place in the slave-free states of the north and west.

The Confederate States had a constitution similar to that of the United States; in some respects the constituent states had more rights, in others fewer. The CSA president was elected for six years instead of four, but could not be re-elected. The sole president from 1861 to 1865 was Jefferson Davis .

Shortly after the split, there was a civil war between the Union and the Confederation. The Union had scattered troops in forts across the country, some of them in the south. The reason for the war was the bombardment of one of these forts - Fort Sumter  - by the Confederation.

Without outside support, the confederation had little chance against the industrially more advanced and more populous Union. The war was partially devastating for the civilian population.

The time of the civil war and the reconstruction have left a lasting mark on the regional feeling of the southerners. The regional ties and identification with the values ​​of the Confederation is sometimes controversial because of the slavery at the time.


The background to the secession of the southern states can be found in the different demographic, economic, political and religious developments in the northern and southern states. While the north profited to a large extent from the increasing immigration of white people from Europe, this was less in the south. In the north, industrialization prevailed, while the south remained predominantly an agricultural country whose plantation economy ( peanuts , sugar cane , tobacco , cotton ) was based on the supposed necessity of using slaves . The number of slaves in the north slowly declined as a result of industrialization, while the owners of the plantations in the southern states continued to practice slavery on an increasing scale.

Slavery can be seen as the main reason for secession. With it was connected the issue of what powers the federal government should have over the member states. The southern states feared the loss of their rights in the long term. Until their secession they fought for the maintenance of a strong federalism and thus for a weak union.

Other reasons for the war were of an economic nature. The north wanted to sell its finished products in the south, and the Republicans preferred a protective tariff policy to develop their own industry. However, the south resorted to English finished products, since the ships that brought England with cotton from the south were not supposed to return empty. Likewise, the almost feudal systems in the south - with an economically and politically dominant small layer of landlords and slave owners at the top and everyone below - were seen as a threat to democracy.



As the states in the north gradually officially abolished slavery and the movement towards the complete abolition of slavery ( abolitionism ) grew stronger, the conflict with the south, which mostly clung to slavery, intensified. When with Abraham Lincoln a Republican was elected president (1861-1865), South Carolina declared on December 20, 1860 its exit from the Union . Lincoln rejected the principle of slavery, but was ready to uphold it before and at the beginning of the Civil War, as he wanted to prevent further states from seceding in this way. In general, he could only have abolished slavery through a constitutional amendment that would have required a two-thirds majority in both chambers of Congress .

The secession of South Carolina was soon followed by the states of Mississippi (January 9, 1861), Florida (January 10, 1861), Alabama (January 11, 1861), Georgia (January 19, 1861) and Louisiana (January 26, 1861). On February 4, 1861, a Provisional Congress was constituted in Montgomery from representatives of these states, which united to form the Confederate States of America . The capital was first Montgomery, which was replaced by Richmond after Virginia joined. Texas , whose exit was decided at a convention in Austin , Texas on February 1, 1861 and approved by referendum on February 23, was the last state to end on March 2, 1861, before Abraham Lincoln took office and the start of the Civil War left the Union and joined the Confederate States.

A little later, Virginia (April 17, 1861; confirmed by referendum on May 23, 1861), Arkansas (May 6, 1861), North Carolina (May 20, 1861) and Tennessee (June 8, 1861) left the Union and joined the Southern Confederation. This included 11 of the 15 states in which slavery was allowed.

It is true that the Confederate states laid claim to Missouri and Kentucky (hence the 13 stars in the flag of the Confederation instead of just 11), and regiments from these states fought on both sides; a political detachment from the federal state of the United States was never clearly regulated (in Missouri two parties fought against each other from two different "state capitals").

A provisional constitution was passed on February 8, 1861. As president of the new state was born on February 18, 1861 Jefferson Davis as the Capitol of the Confederacy serving in the Alabama State Capitol sworn. On March 11, 1861, the final version of its own constitution was passed, which, however, was very similar to the United States constitution except for the express permission of slavery. The constitution was to come into force as soon as it had been ratified by five states.

The Union refused to recognize the South. The southern states were also denied international recognition. Although the CSA diplomats tried to gain recognition from Great Britain and France, the British government in particular was only prepared to take this step once the South had won the Civil War.

Course of the civil war

War flag of the CSA in the version of the Confederate naval forces , the so-called "Confederated Navy Jack"

On April 12, 1861, the Confederates attacked the still of federal troops of the Union occupied Fort Sumter in Charleston in South Carolina. The following day the Union troops surrendered there.

In the ensuing Civil War, the Confederate troops achieved several victories, some of which were lossy, such as the Battle of Bull Run . The Northern Virginia Army in particular, under the command of Robert Edward Lee , showed itself to be a match for the troops of the northern states, even if the federal troops penetrated deeply into Confederation territory. The year 1863 can be seen as the turning point of the war, when in July of that year both the strategically important Vicksburg fell to the west and General Lee was defeated at the Battle of Gettysburg .

The south, which was now finally on the defensive, was finally defeated by the north, which was far superior in terms of human and armament potential. General Lee surrendered to Northern General Ulysses Simpson Grant on April 9, 1865 at Appomattox Court House , Virginia ; the remaining Confederate troops, which had been pushed far into the hinterland of the Confederation by the superior Union units, followed in the following weeks.

With this defeat, the confederation broke up, whereupon the secessionist southern states were reintegrated into the union between 1866 and 1870.

States and Territories

Country Leaving the USA Joining the CSA Re-represented in the US Congress Local self-government restored
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 10, 1861 June 25, 1868 January 2, 1877
Alabama January 11, 1861 February 18, 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 4th July 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
North Carolina May 20, 1861 May 20, 1861 4th July 1868 February 2, 1871
Tennessee June 8, 1861 July 2, 1861 July 24, 1866 October 4, 1869
Missouri (one of the two "governments") October 31, 1861 August 19, 1861 (provisional) - -
Arizona Territory ( Mesilla Government) March 16, 1861 February 14, 1862 - -
Kentucky ( Russellville Government) November 20, 1861 December 10, 1862 - -


In contrast to the federal government of the Union, the state government of the Confederate States was referred to as General Government . The only presidential election took place on November 6, 1861.

Loan from the Confederate States of America dated March 2, 1863, vignette with Thomas Jonathan Jackson
Office Surname Term of office
president Jefferson Davis Feb 25, 1861 to (May 10) 1865
Vice President Alexander Hamilton Stephens Feb 25, 1861 to (May 11) 1865
Foreign Minister Robert Augustus Toombs Feb. 25, 1861 to July 25, 1861
Robert Mercer Taliaferro Hunter July 25, 1861 to Feb. 22, 1862
William Montague Browne (executive) March 7, 1862 to March 18. 1862
Judah Philip Benjamin March 18, 1862 to May 1865
Finance minister Christopher Gustavus Memminger Feb. 25, 1861 to June 15, 1864
George Alfred Trenholm July 18, 1864 to April 27, 1865
John Henninger Reagan Apr. 27, 1865 to (May 10), 1865
Minister of War Leroy Pope Walker Feb. 24, 1861 to Sep. 16 1861
Judah Philip Benjamin 17 Sep 1861 to March 24, 1862
George Wythe Randolph March 24, 1862 to November 15, 1862
Gustavus Woodson Smith (executive) Nov 17, 1862 to Nov 20, 1862
James Alexander Seddon Nov 21, 1862 to Feb 5, 1865
John C. Breckinridge Feb. 6, 1865 to May 1865
Navy Minister Stephen Russell Mallory 4th Mar 1865 to (May 20) 1865
Post Minister John Henninger Reagan March 6, 1861 to (May 10) 1865
Justice Minister Judah Philip Benjamin Feb. 25, 1861 to Sep. 17 1861
Wade Keyes (executive) 17 Sep 1861 to Nov. 21, 1861
Thomas Bragg Nov 21, 1861 to March 18, 1862
Thomas Hill Watts March 18, 1862 to October 1, 1863
Wade Keyes (executive, 2nd time) Oct. 1, 1863 to Jan. 4, 1864
George Davis Jan 4, 1864 to Apr 24, 1865


A $ 100 Confederate State bank note

The CSA dollar was launched in April 1861, two months after the founding of the Confederation and a few days before the outbreak of the Civil War . Notes worth 10 and 50 cents as well as 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 500 and 1000 dollars were issued .


Railway traffic was only intended for short train runs and not for the transport of soldiers and goods over long distances, which played an important role in the war. Jefferson Davis's journey from Mississippi to neighboring Alabama on his departure in 1861 can be used as an example of the serious logistical problem facing the Confederate . From his plantation on the Mississippi , he first took the steamboat downstream to Vicksburg , Mississippi, boarded the train to Jackson , Mississippi, where he took another train to Grand Junction , Tennessee. There he changed trains for the third time, going to Chattanooga , Tennessee. In Chattanooga, he boarded a fourth to Atlanta , Georgia. There Davis got on a train that took him to the Alabama border, where he eventually got on the train to Montgomery, the provisional capital of the Confederate. When the Northern States took control of the Mississippi in 1863, their troops burned down scaffolding and bridges and tore out railroad tracks. The vulnerable Confederate railroad system collapsed and was beyond repair.


The military of the southern states was divided into three branches :

See also


  • Richard N. Current (Ed.): Encyclopedia of the Confederacy. 4 vols., New York 1993, ISBN 0-02-864920-6 (English).
  • William C. Davis: Look Away! A History of the Confederate States of America. New York 2002 (English).
  • William C. Davis: An Honorable Defeat: The Last Days of the Confederate Government. Orlando 2001, ISBN 0-15-100564-8 (English).

Web links

Commons : Confederate States of America  - Collection of images

Individual evidence

  1. ↑ In 1810 a quarter (30,000) of the black population in the north was slaves, in 1840 there were around 1,000 slaves here; See Howard Zinn: A People's History of the United States . Harper Perennial, 2005, ISBN 0-06-083865-5 , p. 88.
  2. James L. Huston: The Panic of 1857 and the Coming of the Civil War. Louisiana State University Press, Baton Rouge, LA [u. a.] 1987, ISBN 0-8071-1368-9 , p. 144 ff.
  3. Date of leaving the Union. Texas State Library, July 6, 2010, accessed February 24, 2011 ( The Ordinances of the Texas Convention, and An Address to the People of Texas ).
  4. Provisional constitution. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 2001, accessed February 9, 2011 (Documenting the American South).
  5. ^ Constitution of the Confederate States. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 2001, accessed February 9, 2011 (Documenting the American South).