March 15, 1861
The Constitution of the Confederate States.
|The principle of State Sovereignty was enshrined in|
the Confederate Constitution. Seen here is the Louisiana
And first and foremost, let us congratulate the people of this great Confederacy, that this Constitution contains the first acknowledgment in the fundamental law of any people, of the great principle of equal and just taxation. That system of partial legislation in the imposition of the tax has been the prime cause of all the corruption and sectionalism which have finally overthrown the Union of the United States, is repudiated by this Constitution. Protective tariffs are at an end, if this Constitution is rightfully administered, with all the villainies they spawned upon the country.
But the Constitution is equally admirable in the second great matter of all Government - the expenditure of the taxes. The corrupt system of internal improvements is cut up by the roots. This whole matter is left with the States. . . .The treasury of the Confederate States if free of this corrupt incubus, but the establishment of lights, beacons and buoys. . . .
Executive patronage - the ninety-four thousand offices, and the rotation system, constituting the spoils of party victory in every Presidential election - is also extirpated by the Constitution of the Confederate States. Under the Constitution of the United States, all the civil officers of the Government hold their offices by the tenure of the Executive will. Hence the intense struggle in the Presidential election. . . .
Nor should we forget, in connection with the Executive, that other feature of the Constitution, which extends the President's tenure of office to six years, and renders him ineligible [for reelection]. That stupendous evil - of a government, with all its power and patronage, entering into a Presidential election, to continue in power those in possession of the government - is abolished. . . .
This Constitution is also made amendable. . . . Here a safety valve is provided for discontents. Any three States can bring all the States into grand council, to consider their relations towards each other and rectify grievances. . . .
The sovereignty of the States stands out throughout the whole Constitution. We "we the people" are, is left in no doubt. They are the people of the States. And the consequent right of a State to secede from the Confederacy, although not expressed, is so patent that it needed no expression. . . .