Alexander Stephens begins his Cornerstone Speech by acknowledging and thanking the audience. Stephens states that the world is going through one of the greatest revolutions as seven of the United States have decided to become independent and form the Confederate States of America. Stephens announces that he will discuss the constitution of the Confederacy and address the changes that have been made to it. He first says that the new constitution has not altered the individual rights of American citizens in any way but that some other changes have been made to improve the old constitution.

First, Stephens talks about taxation and commerce. He says taxation of all trades and branches of industry will be perfectly equal, so no specific class of people in a specific business may have an advantage over others. Stephens then argues that the tax money of one state should not be used for the improvement of the infrastructure of a different state, but that each state should bear the financial responsibility for whatever improvements ...

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