I get so sick of Confederate apologists. They like to advance the argument that the Civil War was about States’ rights – and they are right as far as they go. The Civil War was about States’ rights – to have slavery.
This is where the neo-Confederates go ballistic (hopefully not literally), but let’s look at the actual facts. When the Confederate representatives assembled to draft up a constitution in 1861, they went to some pains to make themselves well understood on the issue of slavery. For example, in Article I, Section 9, subsection 4 they wrote: “No bill of attainder, ex post facto law, or law denying or impairing the right of property in negro slaves shall be passed.” Pretty much makes their decidedly pro-slavery stance clear.
Article IV, Section 2, sub-section 1 was written to preclude another Dred Scott case from arising: "The citizens of each State shall be entitled to all the privileges and immunities of citizens in the several States; and shall have the right of transit and sojourn in any State of this Confederacy, with their slaves and other property; and the right of property in said slaves shall not be thereby impaired.”
Article IV, Section 2, sub-section 3 was written to ensure that no runaway slave would ever be free: “No slave or other person held to service or labor in any State or Territory of the Confederate States, under the laws thereof, escaping or lawfully carried into another, shall, in consequence of any law or regulation therein, be discharged from such service or labor; but shall be delivered up on claim of the party to whom such slave belongs, or to whom such service or labor may be due.”
Article IV, Section 3, sub-section 3, was written to ensure that future states and territories in the CSA would mandatorily have slavery: “The Confederate States may acquire new territory; and Congress shall have power to legislate and provide governments for the inhabitants of all territory belonging to the Confederate States, lying without the limits of the several Sates; and may permit them, at such times, and in such manner as it may by law provide, to form States to be admitted into the Confederacy. In all such territory the institution of negro slavery, as it now exists in the Confederate States, shall be recognized and protected be Congress and by the Territorial government; and the inhabitants of the several Confederate States and Territories shall have the right to take to such Territory any slaves lawfully held by them in any of the States or Territories of the Confederate States.”
Why all the focus on slavery in the Confederate Constitution? Because the Civil War was about slavery.