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A history of slavery in the confederate states of america

  • While the Confederate Constitution upheld the institution of slavery, it prohibited the African slave trade;
  • Davis' engaging and provocative narrative, drawn from a rich collection of newspapers, letters, and government records, traces the demise of the Confederacy from the first days of secession to the surrender of its army in 1865;
  • General Order 14 resulted, which would immediately give freedom to slaves who served in the military;
  • In 1863 a general tax bill was passed, imposing license and occupational taxes, a profits tax, and a 10 percent tax on farm products, collected in kind.

In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content: Civil War History 49. A History of the Confederate States of America. The Free Press, 2002.

Confederate States of America

Davis's history of the Confederacy revisits two longstanding questions that have generated historical interest: These questions are interrelated, Davis suggests, in a familiar yet refreshingly comprehensive analysis of the South in wartime. The Confederacy's failure, he argues, is best understood by considering its origin—Southern leaders created a nation so inherently flawed and riddled with contradictions that it collapsed from within and could not sustain a successful war effort.

Davis' engaging and provocative narrative, drawn from a rich collection of newspapers, letters, and government records, traces the demise of the Confederacy from the first days of secession to the surrender of its army in 1865.

Davis begins by leaving no doubt about what made the Confederacy different. Slavery was the "only significant and defining difference" between the North and South, he argues 9and "secession and the Confederacy's existence were predicated on slavery" 130. This history of the Confederacy does not suffer from romanticization.

ADDITIONAL MEDIA

Davis argues that Southern leaders created what he calls a "Confederate democracy," a political system that differed from the United States in its explicit protection of slavery and the interests of slaveholding oligarchs. This system rested on a constitution mandating that slavery would exist in future territories, regardless of popular opinion on the issue, and guaranteeing that a fugitive slave law would be protected from any interference by the courts.

Slavery was not merely allowed to exist in this Confederate democracy—it was a "fundamental right" that could not be trampled upon, especially by the states 106.

  • Confederates felt that the importance of cotton would force diplomatic recognition from the Federal government and European countries;
  • Here he is clearly indebted to the work of historians such as George Rable, Drew Gilpin Faust, Paul Escott, and others, who have already documented how divisions among Confederates weakened the basis of their collective war effort;
  • Not even the brilliant tactics of Lee in the East or of Gen;
  • Neither the commissioners sent abroad in 1861 nor the permanent envoys who replaced them were able to secure recognition from Great Britain, France, or any other European power;
  • The Confederate democracy could not provide equal protection for all its citizens, Davis concludes, and instead infringed on the individual rights of its people.

And herein lay the Confederacy's greatest contradiction. The Federal protection of slaveholding interests effectively "set slavery above state sovereignty: The South's commitment to state rights, as well its professed attachment to liberty and individual rights, was undermined from the very beginning by its commitment to slavery.

Internal dissent generated by those who felt alienated from this elitist Confederate democracy forms the core of Davis's analysis. Here he is clearly indebted to the work of historians such as George Rable, Drew Gilpin Faust, Paul Escott, and others, who have already documented how divisions among Confederates weakened the basis of their collective war effort. Political leaders appear bitterly divided by jealousy, suspicion, and philosophical differences, even as they pressed for nonpartisanship.

Slaves fled [End Page 302] and disrupted the plantation economy, while residents of local communities, especially women, protested the inflation, shortages, and conscription laws that appeared to make the war a poor man's fight.

The Confederate democracy could not provide equal protection for all its citizens, Davis concludes, and instead infringed on the individual rights of its people. Unionists in the mountain and hill country, for example, found themselves punished by Confederate officials and unable to speak freely, while owners of private businesses became subjected to unprecedented government controls—a story that Davis recounts in a chapter provocatively titled, "Cotton Communism, Whiskey Welfare, and Salt Socialism.

Davis's subtitle calls this book a "history of the Confederate States of America," when in fact it might be more accurately titled a "history of the Confederacy's failure.

How, as Gary Gallagher most recently asked in The Confederate War, should we explain the Confederacy's ability to sustain itself for four years.

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  1. The Confederacy was plagued by major economic problems throughout the war, unable to keep up with the production boom in the industrialized north and incapable of overcoming the export limitations brought on by war.
  2. Neither the commissioners sent abroad in 1861 nor the permanent envoys who replaced them were able to secure recognition from Great Britain, France, or any other European power.
  3. As the war dragged on, some troops prowled the countryside to rob civilians.
  4. Davis was soon forced to make military service mandatory for all able-bodied males between 18 and 35 years old.

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