Front Page Titles (by Subject) Note (A) to Chapter 30: CONSTITUTION OF THE CONFEDERATE STATES, 1861–65 - The American Commonwealth, vol. 1
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Note (A) to Chapter 30: CONSTITUTION OF THE CONFEDERATE STATES, 1861–65 - Viscount James Bryce, The American Commonwealth, vol. 1 
The American Commonwealth, with an Introduction by Gary L. McDowell, 2 vols (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 1995).
Part of: The American Commonwealth, 2 vols.
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Note (A) to Chapter 30
CONSTITUTION OF THE CONFEDERATE STATES, 1861–65
The constitution adopted 11th March 1861 by the slave states which seceded from the Union and formed the short-lived Southern Confederacy, was a reproduction of the federal Constitution of 1788–89, with certain variations, interesting because they show the points in which the states’ rights party thought the federal Constitution defective as inadequately safeguarding the rights of the several states, and because they embody certain other changes which have often been advocated as likely to improve the working of that instrument.
The most important of these variations are the following:
Of these changes, the third and fifth were obvious improvements; and much may be said in favour of the second, fourth, seventh, and eighth. The second was a very slight approximation towards the cabinet system of England.1
I omit the important changes relating to slavery, which was fully protected, because these have only a historical interest.
The working of the Constitution of the Confederate States cannot be fairly judged, because it was conducted under the exigencies of a war, which necessarily gave it a despotic turn. The executive practically got its way. Congress usually sat in secret and “did little beyond register laws prepared by the executive, and debate resolutions for the vigorous conduct of the war. Outside of the ordinary powers conferred by the legislature, the war powers openly or practically exercised by the executive were more sweeping and general than those assumed by President Lincoln.” —(Alexander Johnston in American Cyclopædia of Political Science, Article “Confederate States. ”)
 A singular combination of the presidential with the cabinet system may be found in the present Constitution of the Hawaiian kingdom, promulgated 7th July 1887, which lasted till the islands were annexed to the United States in 1898. Framed under the influence of American traditions, it kept the cabinet, which consisted of four ministers, out of the legislature but having an irresponsible hereditary monarch, it was obliged to give the legislature the power of dismissing them by a vote of want of confidence. The legislature consisted of two sets of elective members, Nobles (unpaid), and Representatives (paid), who sat and voted together. Two successive legislatures could alter the constitution by certain prescribed majorities: the constitution was therefore a rigid one.