In regard to most articles of the Constitution, the document is a word-for-word duplicate of the United States Constitution. However, there are crucial differences between the two documents, in tone and legal content, primarily regarding slavery.
By 1860, sectional disagreements between North and South relate primarily to the maintenance or expansion of slavery in the United States. Historian Drew Gilpin Faust observed that "leaders of the secession movement across the South cited slavery as the most compelling reason for southern independence". Although most white Southerners did not own slaves, the majority supported the institution of slavery and benefited in indirect ways from the slave society.
In what later became known as the Cornerstone Speech, C.S. Vice President Alexander Stephens declared that the "cornerstone" of the new government "rest[ed] upon the great truth that the negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery – subordination to the superior race – is his natural and normal condition. This, our new government, is the first, in the history of the world, based upon this great physical, philosophical, and moral truth".
Four of the seceding states, the Deep South states of South Carolina, Mississippi, Georgia, and Texas, issued formal declarations of causes, each of which identified the threat to slaveholders' rights as the cause of, or a major cause of, secession.
Texas resolutions further stated that governments of the states and the nation were established "exclusively by the white race, for themselves and their posterity". They also stated that although equal civil and political rights applied to all white men, they did not apply to those of the "African race", further opining that the end of racial enslavement would "bring inevitable calamities upon both [races] and desolation upon the fifteen slave-holding states".