Name four differences between the U.S. Constitution and the Confederate States Constitution in terms of state power relative to federal government power.

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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One of the main reasons why the Southern states seceded was that they wanted states to have more power (so they could have slavery).  To make sure that the states had more power, they made a new constitution that was based on the US Constitution, but which gave the states greater powers.  Here are four examples:

  1. The CSA Constitution’s preamble says that it is made by the states with “each State acting in its sovereign and independent character.”  This makes it clear that the states are independent and are only coming together out of their own free will.  This implies that states could leave their union whenever they wish.
  2. The legislature of any state could impeach any federal official working within that state.  There was no such power in the US Constitution.  This is in Article I, Section 2, Clause 5.
  3. The states have the power to make treaties with one another about rivers.  This power is found in Article I, Section 10, Clause 3.
  4. In that same section and clause, states are given the right to tax ships that use their waterways.  The taxes are to be for the express purpose of improving harbors and such.
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