Confederate States of America
The Confederate States of America (CSA), commonly referred to as the Confederate States (CS) or the Confederacy, was a government set up in 1861 by seven slave states (i.e. states which permitted slavery) of the Lower South that had declared their secession from the United States following the November 1860 election of Abraham Lincoln. Those seven states created a "confederacy" in February 1861 before Lincoln took office in March. After war began in April, four states of the Upper South also declared their secession and were admitted to the Confederacy. The Confederacy later accepted two additional states as members (Missouri and Kentucky) although neither officially declared secession nor were ever controlled by Confederate forces.
The United States (the Union) government rejected secession and considered the Confederacy illegal. The American Civil War began with the 1861 Confederate attack upon Fort Sumter, a fort in the harbor of Charleston, South Carolina. By 1865, after very heavy fighting, largely on Confederate territory, CSA forces were defeated and the Confederacy collapsed. No foreign state officially recognized the Confederacy as an independent country, but Britain and France granted belligerent status.
Confederate States Congress
The only two "formal, national, functioning, civilian administrative bodies" in the Civil War South were the Jefferson Davis administration and the Confederate Congresses. The Confederacy was begun by the Provisional Congress in Convention at Montgomery, Alabama on February 28, 1861. It had one vote per state in a unicameral assembly.
The Permanent Confederate Congress was elected and began its first session February 18, 1862. The Permanent Congress for the Confederacy followed the United States forms with a bicameral legislature. The Senate had two per state, twenty-six Senators. The House numbered 106 representatives apportioned by free and slave populations within each state. Two Congresses sat in six sessions until March 18, 1865.
The political influences of the civilian, soldier vote and appointed representatives reflected divisions of political geography of a diverse South. These in turn changed over time relative to Union occupation and disruption, the war impact on local economy, and the course of the war. Without political parties, key candidate identification related to adopting secession before or after Lincoln's call for volunteers to retake Federal property. Previous party affiliation played a part in voter selection, predominantly secessionist Democrat or unionist Whig.
The absence of political parties made individual roll call voting all the more important, as the Confederate "freedom of roll-call voting [was] unprecedented in American legislative history. Key issues throughout the life of the Confederacy related to (1) suspension of habeas corpus, (2) military concerns such as control of state militia, conscription and exemption, (3) economic and fiscal policy including impressment of slaves, goods and scorched earth, and (4) support of the Jefferson Davis administration in its foreign affairs and negotiating peace.