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The Confederate Constitution of 1861: An Inquiry into American Constitutionalism Paperback – November 1, 1991

3.5 out of 5 stars 12 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"By continually comparing the Confederates' work to that of America's founding period, DeRosa provides solid theoretical insights that will prove both stimulating and controversial to students of American politics, political thought, and constitutional law. . . . This well- written volume makes a significant contribution to our understanding of the American constitutional tradition. It will work well in graduate and advanced undergraduate courses in American politics and political theory."--Perspectives on Political Science



"DeRosa does not focus simply upon the Civil War, but provides deep back-ground. . . . This is a work of interest to all serious students of American constitutional history and political philosophy. More impressive even than the content of DeRosa's book is the intellectual tone and approach, the spirit."--Chronicles



"DeRosa, in this brief and valuable book, helps us to understand Southern constitutionalism in matters quite distinct from the issue of slavery. Indirectly, this book serves to illuminate the intellectual origins of the Constitution of the United States. . . . DeRosa has made an important contribution to our understanding of American constitutionalism and the Civil War era. It is well worth reading."--Bimonthly Review of Law Books

From the Back Cover

'DeRosa does not focus simply upon the Civil War, but provides deep background....This is a work of interest to all serious students of American constitutional history and philosophy. More impressive even than the content of DeRosa's book is the intellectual tone and approach, the spirit.' -- 'Chronicles'
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: University of Missouri; First Edition edition (November 1, 1991)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0826208126
  • ISBN-13: 978-0826208125
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.7 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,306,281 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
This book is perhaps the best I have read on the Confederate Constitution. The book explains the basis for the state's rights and tariff issues and how they effected the writing of the CS Constitution. A large portion of the book talks about John C. Calhoun and his stance on the issues. Also read to learn the improvements in the CS Constitution over the US counterpart. I would recomend this too all Americans, not just Southerners. If you were ever unsure as to what "state's rights" was, this is the book for you. Read! and learn the real reason the South seceeded.
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Format: Paperback
I thoroughly enjoyed this book and highly recommend it. In reply to some of the points in conlawyer's condemnatory review...
1) Davis and Stephens, in their 1861 speeches mentioned by conlawyer, spoke of "agitation over slavery," rather than the desire to perpetuate slavery itself, as being the motivation behind secession. The slavery provisions of the Confederate Constitution of were designed to eliminate this "agitation over slavery"...that is, conflict between States which have emancipated and those which have not...not to protect slavery itself. It removed slavery from the realm of national government and placed it where it properly belonged, in the sphere of State legislative action. The Northern States had eliminated slavery when it became economically unviable in the North...not due to any moral outrage over slavery itself...and did so by the action of their individual State Legislatures. The Southern States, through the Confederate Constitution, simply preserved their right to handle the issue by the same means, and for the same reasons, which the Northern States had used.
2)The State Secession documents...actually, conlawyer is referring to the Declarations of the Causes of Secession issued by four of the States seceding from the Union (the rest did not explain their reasons)...do cite slavery as the prime reason for secession. Southerners often cite conflicts over high tariffs and other economic issues as the cause of secession, and a superficial reading of these Declarations of the Causes of Secession does seem to contradict this, as conlawyer points out. However, what these Declarations were doing was providing a legal basis for secession, just as the original Declaration of Independence set out the legal basis for America's secession from the British Empire.
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Marshall DeRosa's book is valuable for understanding a remarkable document - the Confederate Constitution. He reviews the innovations, like executive branch representation in the legislative branch, a line-item veto, and one six-year term for the president, and explains the reasoning for each. He also covers the real genius of the Constitution, which is the limit on central power through a provision allowing a state to impeach a Confederate official operating within that state's borders. Part of this opposition to anything that would centralize power led to the Congress' refusal to organize a supreme court because of the experience with the US Supreme Court. The free-market leanings of the drafters are evident in the prohibition of protective tariffs in Article I, Section 8 and the mandate that the postal service operate on its own revenues after March 1, 1863.

DeRosa's book is a well-written contribution to the study of Confederate constitutionalism with extensive documentation. The footnotes and bibliography are rich resources.
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Format: Paperback
This book helps destroy the myth that the so-called Civil War was about slavery, and the Southern states were fighting to preserve it! Facts are shown in this book that the South was fighting for smaller government, and the "right" of a state to govern itself. One of the myths about the Confederacy is that they imported slavery. Article 1, Section 9, Paragraph 1 shows that the Confederate Government "outlawed' the international slave trade from its conception, the United States constitution did not! Many who wish to believe the myth of slavery, and the Confederacy will scoff at this book for it's FACTS, but than these people doubtless believe that World War 2 was about the Jewish people and the holocaust.
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Simply based on the laughable liberal's response I would like to ask him why he chooses to perpetuate his fallacy, but I fear there will be no reply apart from insults. To clarify to "conlawyer" I would like him to tell me why then if the South had enough slave labor was an unskilled slave worth hundreds if not thousands of dollars? Or for example why did many blacks fight alongside Confederate forces during the Union campaigns if they were the liberators? And if the war was truly about slavery, why then would the other 80% of the Southern population, who had no slaves or any vested interest in its survival, fight the war? Certainly if it was to "keep the black man down" they needn't have fought at all since that was the outcome due to this radical solution concocted by the GOP of which I am a part. Their solution, namely social engineering on the part of earnest Northern lunatics, caused more suffering and tragedy then a Southern victory ever would. As a person born and raised in California my bias is merely towards that of logic. A retort to my inquiry is much craved.
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