The Confederate Constitution
Commentary by Frank Gillispie
How would you like to view a rare historic document that has great significance to this area. This document is so valuable that it is only put on display one day a year by the University of Georgia’s Hargrett Rare Book and Manuscript Library. It is the original Confederate Constitution inscribed on parchment and it can be seen only on Confederate Memorial Day, April 26th each year.
The principle author of the Confederate constitution is T.R.R. Cobb of Athens. It was acquired by the UGA in 1938 from the DeRenne Library in Savannah. For many years it was hauled around and displayed at various sites causing it to become rather fragile. So now it is stored in a lead tube in a vault except for the one day that it is on display.
The Confederates believed that they were recapturing the original American Revolution which the northern radicals had abandoned. That is why the Great Seal of the Confederate States pictures George Washington on his war horse surrounded by the agricultural products that were the mainstay of the Southern economy. So they took the original constitution and made a number of changes designed to restore its original plan for government.
For example, the President was given a single six year term. He was also given a line item veto. Any tax increases had to have a two thirds majority in congress. Excise taxes could not be used for internal improvements except for harbor development. The bill of rights were incorporated within the body of the Constitution.
This one of a kind document will be on display at the UGA library on Tuesday, April 26, Confederate Memorial Day. It is unrolled with weights placed on the corners and placed in a glass top table with special lighting designed to protect it from further damage. The library traditionally displays a collection of other related historic documents along with the constitution. It is an excellent display and well worth the trouble of finding parking near the library. Every one ought to view the Confederate Constitution at least once.
Meanwhile, there will be numerous celebrations staged by the United Daughters of The Confederacy and the Sons of Confederate Veterans each weekend in April. Often you will see reenactors, period music, lectures and flags marking Confederate graves in local cemeteries.
The Madison County Greys, Sons of Confederate Veterans will meet on Monday, April 25 at 7:30 p.m. at First Madison Bank in Colbert. Information from my Bicentennial Lecture on Thursday will be presented for those who missed the county program. Everyone is invited to attend.
The Confederate States of America and the war for Southern Independence are a significant part of our history and had a major effect on our culture and heritage. Confederate History month in April, and Confederate Memorial Day on April 26th deserve to be recognized and remembered.
Copyright © 2011 by Frank Gillispie
firstname.lastname@example.org, Hull, GA
Copyright © 2003-2011, GeorgiaHeritageCouncil.org