Following are the December 1999 observations of Dennis Polhill regarding the Confederate Constitution as contrasted with the U.S. Constitution:

  1. The structure of the Confederate Constitution (and government) was extremely similar to the U.S. Constitution.
  2. The Confederate Constitution was written with the benefit of over 70 years experience with the U.S. Constitution.
  3. Except for the provision of slavery, the Confederate Constitution offers some worthy innovations and improvements on the U.S. Constitution.
  4. The CC offers no Bill of Rights.  Rights are integrated with the basic document.  This was one of the difficulties that Thomas Jefferson had with the U.S. Constitution.  He said that attaching a Bill of Rights at the end made it appear as an afterthought.  For this reason he gave serious thought to and nearly did oppose its ratification.
  5. Article I delegates legislative authority to Congress.  In so doing the authority of Congress is enumerated in 18 sections.  These parallel the U.S.C. with variations such as the Post Office must operate out of its own revenue.
  6. Article I limits the powers of Congress in 20 sections that repeat most of the USC Bill of Rights.  #20 is an omnibus bill prohibition, meaning that no bill may have provisions attached to it that are unrelated to the title.  #9 requires that all appropriations be approved by a 2/3 super-majority of Congress.
  7. Article II relates to the Executive.  The President is limited to a single 6 year term.  All appointments (judicial and executive) are approved by 2/3 of the Senate.
  8. Article V in both documents deals with its amendment.  This is the most extreme variation between the two documents.  The CC takes away from Congress the power to propose Amendments.  Only States may propose Amendments.  When 3 (of 11 states = 25%) States concur on a proposed Amendment, Congress is obliged to convene a Constitutional Convention to consider the proposed Amendment.  When 2/3 of the States ratify, the Amendment becomes part of the Constitution.
  9. Elected Officials and Judges are bound by their oath to uphold the Constitution.
  10. The 9th and 10th Amendments to the USC (which reserve rights not specified to individuals and powers not delegated to the Federal government for the states) appear in the CC prominently immediately prior to Article VII, the ratification article.