The Provisional Constitution of the CSA
Constitution For The Provisional Government of
The Confederate States of America
We, the Deputies of the Sovereign and Independent States of South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Alabama,
Mississippi, and Louisiana, invoking the favor of Almighty God, do hereby, in behalf of these States, ordain and
establish this Constitution for the Provisional Government of the same: to continue one year from the inauguration of
the President, or until a permanent Constitution or Confederation between the said States shall be put in operation,
whichsoever shall first occur.
SECTION 1. All legislative powers herein delegated shall be vested in this Congress now assembled until otherwise
SECTION 2. When vacancies happen in the representation from any State, the same shall be filled in such manner
as the proper authorities of the State shall direct.
- The Congress shall be the judge of the elections, returns, and qualification of its members; any number of
Deputies from a majority of the States, being present, shall constitute a quorum to do business; but a smaller
number may adjourn from day to day, and may be authorized to compel the attendance of absent members; upon all
questions before the Congress, each State shall be entitled to one vote, and shall be represented by any one or
more of its Deputies who may be present.
- The Congress may determine the rules of its proceedings, punish its members for disorderly behavior, and with
the concurrence of two-thirds, expel a member.
- The Congress shall keep a journal of its proceedings, and from time to time publish the same, excepting such
parts as may in their judgement require secrecy; and the yeas and nays of the members on any question, shall, at
the desire of one-fifth of those present, or at the instance on any one State, be entered on the Journal.
SECTION 4. The members of Congress shall receive a compensation for their services, to be ascertained by law,
and paid out of the treasury of the Confederacy. They shall in all cases, except treason, felony and breach of the
peace, be privileged from arrest during their attendance at the session of the Congress, and in going to and returning
from the same; and for any speech or debate, they shall not be questioned in any other Place.
- Every bill which shall have passed the Congress, shall, before it become a Law, be presented to the President of
the Confederacy; if he approve, he shall sign it; but if not, he shall return it with his objections to the Congress, who
shall enter the objections at large on their journal, and proceed to reconsider it. If after such reconsideration
two-thirds of the Congress shall agree to pass the bill, it shall become a law. But in all such cases, the vote shall be
determined by yeas and nays; and the names of the persons voting for and against the bill shall be entered on the
journal. If any Bill shall not be returned by the President within ten Days (Sundays excepted) after it shall have been
presented to him, the same shall be a law, in like manner as if he had signed it, unless the Congress by their
adjournment prevent its return, in which case it shall not be a law. The President may veto any appropriation or
appropriations, and approve any other appropriation or appropriations, in the same bill.
- Every order, resolution, or vote, intended to have the force and effect of a law, shall be presented to the President,
and before the same shall take effect, shall be approved by him, or being disapproved by him, shall be repassed by
two-thirds of the Congress, according to the rules and limitations prescribed in the case of a bill.
- Until the inauguration of the President, all bills, orders, resolutions and votes adopted by the Congress shall be of
full force without approval by him.
- The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts and excises, for the revenue necessary to
pay the debts and carry on the Government of the Confederacy; and all duties, imposts and excises shall be uniform
throughout the States of the Confederacy.
- To borrow money on the credit of the Confederacy;
- To regulate commerce with foreign nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian tribes;
- To establish a uniform rule of naturalization, and uniform laws on the subject of bankruptcies throughout the
- To coin money, regulate the value thereof and of foreign coin, and fix the standard of weights and measures;
- To provide for the punishment of counterfeiting the securities and current coin of the Confederacy;
- To establish post offices and post roads;
- To promote the progress of science and useful arts, by securing for, limited times to authors and inventors the
exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries;
- To constitute tribunals inferior to the Supreme Court;
- To define and punish piracies and felonies committed on the high seas, and offences against the law of nations;
- To declare war, grant letters of marque and reprisal, and make rules concerning captures on land and water;
- To raise and support armies; but no appropriation of money to that use shall be for a longer term that two years;
- To provide and maintain a navy;
- To make rules for government and regulation of the land and naval forces;
- To provide for calling forth the militia to execute the laws of the Confederacy, suppress insurrections and repel
- To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining the militia, and for governing such part of them as may be
employed in the service of the Confederacy, reserving to the States respectively the appointment of the officers, and
the authority of training the militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress; and
- To make all laws that shall be necessary and proper for carrying into execution the foregoing powers and all other
powers expressly delegated by this Constitution to this Provisional Government.
- The Congress shall have power to admit other States.
- This Congress shall also exercise Executive powers until the President is inaugurated.
- The importation of African negroes from any foreign country other than the slaveholding States of the United
States, is hereby forbidden; and Congress are required to pass such laws as shall effectually prevent the same.
- The Congress shall also have power to prohibit the introduction of slaves from any State not a member of this
- The privilege of the writ of Habeas Corpus shall not be suspended unless, when in cases of rebellion or invasion,
the public safety may require it.
- No Bill of Attainder, or ex post facto law shall be passed.
- No preference shall be given, by any regulation of commerce or revenue, to the ports of one State over those of
another; nor shall vessels bound to or from one State be obliged to enter, clear, or pay duties, in another.
- No money shall be drawn from the treasury, but in consequence of appropriations made by law; and a regular
statement and account of the receipts and expenditures of all public money shall be published from time to time.
- Congress shall appropriate no money from the treasury unless it be asked and estimated for by the President or
some one of the heads of Departments, except for the purpose of paying its own expenses and contingencies.
- No title of nobility shall be granted by the Confederacy; and no person holding any office of profit or trust under
them, shall, without the consent of the Congress, accept of any present, emolument, office, or title, of any kind
whatever, from any King, prince, or foreign State.
- Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or
abridging the freedom of speech or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble and petition the
Government for a redress of such grievences as the delegated powers of this Government may warrant it to
consider and redress.
- A well-regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear
arms shall not be infringed.
- No soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house without the consent of the owner; nor in time of war,
but in a manner to be prescribed by law.
- The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects against unreasonable searches
and seizures, shall not be violated; and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or
affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and persons or things to be seized.
- No person shall be held to answer for a capital or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment of
indictment of a grand jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the militia, when in actual service
in time of war or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life
or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself; nor be deprived of life, liberty, or
property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use without just compensation.
- In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial by an impartial jury of the
State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously
ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the
witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor; and to have the assistance
of counsel for his defence.
- In suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall
be preserved; and no fact tried by a jury shall be otherwise reexamined in any Court of the Confederacy, than
according to the rules of the common law.
- Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel or unusual punishments inflicted.
- The enumeration, in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained
by the people.
- The powers not delegated to the Confederacy by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved
to the States respectively, or to the people.
- The judicial power of the United States shall not be contrued to extend to any suit in law or equity, commenced or
prosecuted against one of the States of the Confederacy, by citizens of another State, or by citizens or subjects of
any foreign state.
- No State shall enter into any treaty, alliance, or confederation; grant letters of marque and reprisal; coin money;
emit bills of credit; make any thing but gold and silver coin a tender in payment of debts; pass any bills of attainder, or
ex post facto law, or law impairing the obligation of contracts, or grant any title of nobility.
- No State shall, without the consent of the Congress, lay any imposts or duties on imports or exports, except what
may be absolutely necessary for executing its inspection laws; and the net produce of all duties and imposts, laid by
any State on imports or exports, shall be for the use of the treasury of the Confederacy, and all such laws shall be
subject to the revision and control of the Congress. No State, shall, without the consent of Congress, lay any duty on
tonnage, enter into any agreement or compact with another State, or with a foreign power, or engage in war, unless
actually invaded, or in such imminent danger as will not admit of delay.
- The Executive power shall be vested in a President of the Confederate States of America. He, together with the
Vice President, shall hold his office for one year, or until this Provisional Government shall be superceded by a
Permanent Government, whichsoever shall first occur.
- The President and Vice-President shall be elected by ballot by the States represented in this Congress, each
State casting one vote, and a majority of the whole being requisite to elect.
- No person, except a natural-born citizen, or a citizen of one of the States of this Confederacy at the time of the
adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the office of President; neither shall any person be eligible to that
office who shall not have attained to the age of thirty-five years, and have been fourteen years a resident of one of the
States of this Confederacy.
- In case of the removal of the President from office, or of his death, resignation, or inability to discharge the powers
and duties of the said office, (which inability shall be determined by a vote of two-thirds of the Congress,) the Same
shall devolve on the Vice-President; and the Congress may by law provide for the case of removal, death,
resignation, or inability, both of the President and the Vice-President, declaring what officer shall then act as
President; and such officer shall act accordingly, until the disability be removed or a President shall be elected.
- The President shall at stated times receive for his services, during the period of the Provisional Government, a
compensation at the rate of twenty-five thousand dollars per annum; and he shall not receive during that period any
other emolument from this Confederacy, or any of the States thereof.
- Before he enters on the execution of his office, he shall take the following oath or affirmation:
I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the office of President of the Confederate States of
America, and will, to the best of my ability, preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution thereof.
- The President shall be Commander-in-Chief of the Army and Navy of the Confederacy, and of the militia of the
several States, when called into the actual service of the Confederacy; he may require the opinion, in writing, of the
principle Officer in each of the Executive Departments, upon any subject relating to the duties of their respective
Offices; and he shall have power to grant reprieves and pardons for offences against the Confederacy, except in
cases of impeachment.
- He shall have power, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, to make treaties; provided two-thirds of
the Congress concur; and he shall nominate, and by and with the advice and consent of the Congress, shall appoint
ambassadors, other public ministers, and consuls, judges of the courts, and all other officers of the Confederacy
whose appointments are herein otherwise provided for and which shall be established by Law. But the Congress
may, by law, vest the appointment of such inferior officers as they think proper in the President alone, in the courts of
law, or in the heads of departments.
- The President shall have power to fill all vacancies that may happen during the recess of the Congress, by
granting commissions which shall expire at the end of the next session.
- He shall, from time to time, give to the Congress information of the state of the Confederacy, and recommend to
their consideration such measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient; he may, on extraordinary occasions,
convene the Congress at such times as he shall think proper; he shall receive ambassadors and other public
ministers; he shall take care that the laws be faithfully executed; and shall commission all the officers of the
- The President, Vice-President, and all civil officers of the Confederacy shall be removed from office on conviction
by the Congress of treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors; a vote of two-thirds shall be necessary
for such conviction.
- The judicial power of the Confederacy shall be vested in one Supreme Court, and in such inferior courts as are
herein directed, or as the Congress may from time to time ordain and establish.
- Each State shall constitute a District, in which there shall be a court called a District Court, which, until otherwise
provided by the Congress, shall have the jurisdiction vested by the laws of the United States, as far as applicable, in
both the District and Circuit Courts of the United States, for that State; the Judge whereof shall be appointed by the
President, by and with the advice and concent of the Congress, and shall, until otherwise provided by the Congress,
exercise the power and authority vested by the laws of the United States in the Judges of the District and Circuit
Courts of the United States, for that State, and shall appoint the times and places at which the courts shall be held.
Appeals may be taken directly from the District Courts to the Supreme Court, under similar regulations to those
which are provided in cases of appeal to the Supreme Court of the United States, or under such regulations as may
be provided by the Congress. The commissions of all the judges shall expire with this Provisional Government.
- The Supreme Court shall be constituted of all the District Judges, a majority of whom shall be a quorum, and shall
sit at such times and places as the Congress shall appoint.
- The Congress shall have power to make laws for the transfer of any causes which were pending in the courts of
the United States, to the courts of the Confederacy, and for the execution of the orders, decrees and judgements
heretofore rendered by the said courts of the United States; and also all laws which may be requisite to protect the
parties to all such units, orders, judgements, or decrees, their heirs, personal representatives, or assignees.
- The judicial power shall extend to all cases of law and equity, arising under this Constitution, the laws of the United
States, and of this Confederacy, and treaties made, or which shall be made, under its authority; to all cases affecting
ambassadors, other public ministers and consuls; to all cases of admiralty or maritime jurisdiction; to controversies
to which the Confederacy shall be a party; to controversies between two or more States; between citizens of
different States; between citizens of the same States claiming lands under grants of different States.
- In all cases affecting ambassadors, other public ministers and consuls, and those in which a State shall be a
Party, the Supreme Court shall have original jurisdiction. In all other cases before mentioned, the Supreme Court
shall have appellate jurisdiction, both as to law and fact, with such exceptions and under such regulations as the
Congress shall make.
- The trial of all crimes except in cases of impeachment, shall be by jury, and such trial shall be held in the State
where the said crimes shall have been committed; but when not committed within any State, the trial shall be at such
place or places as the Congress may by law have directed.
- Treason against this Confederacy shall consist only in levying war against it, or in adhering to its enemies, giving
them aid and comfort. No person shall be convicted of treason unless on the testimony of two witnesses to the
same overt act, or on confession in open court.
- The Congress shall have power to declare the punishment of treason; but no attainder of treason shall work
corruption of blood, or forfeiture, except during the life of the person attained.
- Full faith and credit shall be given in each State to the public acts, records, and judicial proceedings of every other
State. And the Congress may, by general laws, prescribe the manner in which such acts, records and proceedings
shall be proved, and the effect of such proof.
- The citizens of each State shall be entitled to all privileges and immunities of citizens in the several States.
- A person charged in any State with treason, felony, or other crime, who shall flee from justice, and be found in
another State, shall, on demand of the executive authoirity of the State from which he fled, be delivered up, to be
removed to the State having jurisdiction of the crime.
- A slave in one State, escaping to another, shall be delivered up on claim of the party to whom said slave may
belong by the executive authority of the State in which such slave shall be found, and in case of any abduction or
forcible rescue, full compensation, including the value of the slave and all costs and expenses, shall be made to the
party, by the State in which such abduction or rescue shall take place.
- The Confederacy shall guarantee to every State in this union, a republican form of government, and shall protect
each of them against invasion; and, on application of the legislature, or of the executive, (when the legislature can not
be convened,) against domestic violence.
- The Congress, by a vote of two-thirds, may, at any time, alter or amend this Constitution.
- This Constitution, and all laws of the Confederacy which shall be made in pursuance thereof, and all treaties
made, or which shall be made, under the authority of the Confederacy, shall be the supreme law of the land; and the
judges in every State shall be bound thereby, anything in the Constitution or laws of any State to the contrary
- The Government hereby instituted shall take immediate steps for the settlement of all matters between the States
forming it, and their other late confederates of the United States, in relation to the public property and public debt at
the time of their withdrawal from them; these States hereby declaring it to be their wish and earnest desire to adjust
everything pertaining to the common property, common liability, and common obligations of that union upon the
principles of right, justice, equity, and good faith.
- Until otherwise provided by the Congress, the city of Montgomery in the State of Alabama, shall be the seat of
- The members of the Congress and all executive and judicial officers of the Confederacy shall be bound by oath or
affirmation to support this Constitution; but no religious test shall be required as a qualification to any office of public
trust under this Confederacy.
Done in the Congress, by the unanimous consent of all the said States, the Eighth day of February, in the year of our
Lord, One Thousand Eight Hundred and Sixty-One; and of the Confederate States of America, the first. In witness
whereof, we have hereunto subscribed our names.
Amendment To The Provisional Constitution Of The Confederate States
An Ordinance of the Convention of the Congress of the Confederate States
Be it ordained by the Congress of the Confederate States of America, That the second paragraph of the first section
of the third Article of the Constitution of the Confederate States of America, be so amended in the first line of said
paragraph, as to read, "Each state shall, until otherwise enacted by law, constitute a district;" and in the sixth line,
after the word "judge," add "or judges."
Approved, May 21, 1861.
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