This Day in History

March 11, 1861: Confederate Constitution Adopted

Time Periods: 1850
Themes: Democracy & Citizenship, Education, Slavery and Resistance
Constitution of the Confederate States of America | Zinn Education Project

Source: Public Domain

On March 11, 1861, the Constitution of the Confederate States of America was adopted. A provisional constitution had been written at a Congress of Delegates from the seceding Southern States in Montgomery, Alabama, on February 4, 1861. They then devised and approved a permanent Constitution, which was adopted March 11.

The Constitution explicitly addresses the issue of slavery throughout, with language such as:

  1. No bill of attainder, ex post facto law, or law denying or impairing the right of property in negro slaves, shall be passed.

Yet people continue to argue that the war was not about slavery. In “Why do people believe myths about the Confederacy? Because our textbooks and monuments are wrong” James W. Loewen writes:

The Confederates won with the pen (and the noose) what they could not win on the battlefield: the cause of white supremacy and the dominant understanding of what the war was all about. We are still digging ourselves out from under the misinformation they spread, which has manifested in our public monuments and our history books.

Below are resources to teach outside the textbook.