January 11, 1861: The Alabama Secession Convention passes an Ordinance of Secession, declaring Alabama a "Sovereign and Independent State." By a vote of 61-39, Alabama becomes the fourth state to secede from the Union.
February 4, 1861: Delegates from six states that had recently seceded from the Union meet in Montgomery to establish the Confederate States of America. Four days later this provisional Confederate Congress, comprising representatives of Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, and South Carolina, organized the Confederacy with the adoption of a provisional constitution.
February 18, 1861: After being welcomed to Montgomery with great fanfare, Jefferson Davis is inaugurated as president of the Confederate States of America on the portico of the Alabama capitol. Davis, a former U.S. senator from Mississippi, lived in Montgomery until April, when the Confederate government was moved from Montgomery to its new capital of Richmond, Virginia.
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February-May, 1861: Montgomery serves as C.S.A. capital until move to Richmond, Virginia.
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March 4, 1861: The first Confederate flag is raised over the Alabama capitol at 3:30 PM by Letita Tyler, granddaughter of former U.S. president John Tyler. The flag, which flew on a flagpole by the capitol clock, was not the Confederate battle flag, but the "First National Pattern," also known as the stars and bars.
March 11, 1861: The Confederate Congress, meeting in Montgomery, adopts a permanent constitution for the Confederate States of America to replace the provisional constitution adopted the previous month. The seceded states then ratified the essentially conservative document, which was based largely on the United States Constitution.
May 21, 1861: The Confederate Congress meets for the last time in Montgomery. Montgomery served as capital for just three months, from February to May 1861. After Virginia joined the Confederacy in April 1861, leaders urged the move to the larger city of Richmond, which was closer to the military action.
April 1, 1862: As the first year of the Civil War comes to a close, an order by Gov. John Gill Shorter prohibiting the distillation of hard liquors in Alabama goes into effect. Shorter was willing to make some exceptions, but was determined to prevent distillers from "converting food necessary to sustain our armies and people into poison to demoralize and destroy them."
July 10, 1862: Forty men from the hill country of northwest Alabama sneak into Decatur to join the Chase investment services login army, prompting Gen. Abel Streight to mount an expedition to the south to recruit more volunteers. With the help of an impassioned speech from fervent Unionist Christopher Sheats of Winston County, a center of anti-secessionist sentiment, Streight added another 150 Alabamians to his force.
March 17, 1863: John Pelham, a 24-year-old Confederate hero from Calhoun County, is mortally wounded on the battlefield at Kelley's Ford, Virginia. He died the next day and his body lay in state in the capitol at Richmond before being taken to Alabama for burial. Pelham's skill and daring as an artillery commander distinguished him from the outset of the Civil War and earned him the nickname "the gallant Pelham" from Robert E. Lee.
May 2, 1863: Sixteen-year-old Emma Sansom becomes a Confederate heroine when she helps Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest cross Black Creek near Gadsden as he pursues Union forces led by Col. A.D. Streight.
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February 17, 1864: The H.L. Hunley, a Confederate submarine built in Mobile, becomes the first submarine in history to sink an enemy ship. After torpedoing the suntrust bank routing number tn Housatonic in Charleston Harbor the Hunley never returned to port--until its recovery in August 2000.
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June 19, 1864: The CSS Alabama, captained by Mobiles Raphael Semmes, is sunk citywide motors the end of a fierce naval engagement with the USS Kearsarge off the coast of Cherbourg, France. The Alabama had docked there for maintenance and repairs after 22 months of destroying northern commerce on the high seas during the Civil War.
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August 5, 1864: The Battle of Mobile Bay begins. U.S. Admiral David Farragut, with a force of fourteen wooden ships, four ironclads, 2,700 men, and 197 guns, assaulted greatly outnumbered Confederate defenses guarding the approach to Mobile Bay. Farragut's victory removed Mobile as a center of blockade-running and freed Union troops for service in Virginia.
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June 21, 1865: President Andrew Johnson appoints Lewis Parsons provisional governor of Alabama.
The Secession of South Carolina
Related Highlight SubjectsИсточник: https://history.house.gov/Historical-Highlights/1851-1900/The-secession-of-South-Carolina/
The Reasons for Secession: A Documentary Study
The root cause of the American Civil War is perhaps the most controversial topic in American history. Even before the war was over, scholars in the North and South began to analyze and interpret the reasons behind the bloodshed.
The scholars immediately disagreed over the causes of the war and disagreement persists today. Many maintain that the primary cause of the war was the Southern states’ desire to preserve the institution of slavery. Others minimize slavery and point to other factors, such as taxation or the principle of States' Rights.
In 2011, at the outset of the sesquicentennial, a Pew Research Center poll found that Americans were significantly divided on the issue, with 48% saying the war was "mainly about states' rights," 38% saying the war was "mainly about slavery," with the remainder answering "both equally" or "neither/don't know."
One method by which to analyze this historical conflict is to focus on primary sources. Every state in the Confederacy issued an “Article of Secession” declaring their break from the Union. Four states went further. Texas, Mississippi, Georgia and South Carolina all issued additional documents, usually referred to as the “Declarations of Causes," which explain their decision to leave the Union.
Two major themes emerge in these documents: slavery and states' rights. All four states strongly defend slavery while making varying claims related to states' rights. Other grievances, such as economic exploitation and the role of the military, receive limited attention in some of the documents. This article will present, in detail, everything that was said in the Declarations of Causes pertaining to these topics.
1) Each declaration makes the defense of slavery a clear objective.
Mississippi: Our position is thoroughly identified with the institution of slavery-- the greatest material interest of the world. Its labor supplies the product which constitutes by far the largest and most important portions of commerce of the earth… These products have become necessities of the world, and a blow at slavery is a blow at commerce and civilization. That blow has been long aimed at the institution, and was at the point of reaching its consummation. There was no choice left us but submission to the mandates of abolition, or a dissolution of the Union, whose principles had been subverted to work out our ruin.
Texas: The servitude of the African race, as existing in these States, is mutually beneficial to both bond and free, and is abundantly authorized and justified by the experience of mankind, and the revealed will of the Almighty Creator, as recognized by all Christian nations.
South Carolina: Those [Union] States have assumed the right of deciding upon the propriety of our domestic institutions; and have denied the rights of property established in fifteen of the States and recognized by the Constitution; they have denounced as sinful the institution of slavery; they have permitted open establishment among them of societies, whose avowed object is to disturb the peace and to eloign the property of the citizens of other States.
Georgia: That reason was [the North's] fixed purpose to limit, restrain, and finally abolish slavery in the States where it exists. The South with great unanimity declared her purpose to resist the principle of prohibition to the last extremity.
2) Some states argue that slavery should be expanded.
Georgia: We had acquired a large territory by successful war with Mexico; Congress had to govern it; how, in relation to slavery, was the question then demanding solution. Northern anti-slavery men of all parties asserted the right to exclude slavery from the territory by Congressional legislation bank of america online id setup demanded the prompt and efficient exercise of this power to that end. This insulting and unconstitutional demand routing number wilson bank and trust met with great moderation and firmness by the South. We had shed our blood and paid our money for its acquisition; we demanded a division of it… or an equal participation in the whole of it. The price of the acquisition was the blood and treasure of both sections-- of all, and, therefore, it belonged to all upon the principles of equity and justice.
Texas: The controlling majority of the Federal Government, under various pretenses and disguises, has so administered the same as to exclude the citizens of the Southern States, unless under odious and unconstitutional restrictions, from all the immense territory owned in common by all the States on the Pacific Ocean, for the avowed purpose of acquiring sufficient power in the common government to use it as a means of destroying the institutions of Texas and her sister slaveholding States.
3) Abolitionism is attacked as a method of inciting violent uprisings.
Georgia: For twenty years past the abolitionists and their allies in the Northern States have been engaged in constant efforts to subvert our institutions and to excite insurrection and servile war among us. … These efforts have in one instance led to the actual invasion of one of the slave-holding States, and those of the murderers and incendiaries who escaped public justice by flight have found fraternal protection among our Northern confederates.
Mississippi: [Abolitionism] advocates negro equality, socially and politically, and promotes insurrection and incendiarism in our midst. It has enlisted its press, its pulpit and its schools against us, until the whole popular mind of the North is usaa insurance address san antonio texas and inflamed with prejudice.
Texas: The people [of non-slave holding states] have formed themselves into a great sectional party, now strong enough in numbers to control the affairs of each of those States, based upon an unnatural feeling of hostility to these Southern States and their beneficent and patriarchal system of African slavery, proclaiming the debasing doctrine of equality of all men, irrespective of race or color-- a doctrine at war with nature, in opposition to the experience of mankind, and in violation of the plainest revelations of Divine Law. They demand the abolition of negro slavery throughout the confederacy, the recognition of political equality between the white and negro races, and avow their determination to press on their crusade against us, so long as a negro slave remains in these States. They have, through the mails and hired emissaries, sent seditious pamphlets and papers among us to stir up servile insurrection and bring blood and carnage to our firesides.
4) Mississippi and Georgia point out that slavery accounts for a huge portion of the Southern economy.
Mississippi: We must either submit to degradation, and to the loss of property worth four billions of money, or we must secede from the Union framed by our fathers, to secure this as well as every other species of property.
Georgia: But they know the value of parchment rights in treacherous hands, and therefore they refuse to commit their own to the rulers whom the North offers us. Why? Because by their declared principles and policy they have outlawed $3,000,000,000 of our property in the common territories of the Union; put it under the ban of the Republic in the States where it exists and out of the protection of Federal law everywhere.
1) The states argue that the Union is a compact, one that can be annulled if the states are not satisfied with what they receive in return from other states and/or from the federal government.
South Carolina: We hold.that the mode of its [the federal government] formation subjects it to a third fundamental principle, namely: the law of compact. We maintain that in every compact between two or more parties, the obligation is mutual; that the failure of one of the contracting parties to perform a material part of the agreement, entirely releases the obligation of the other; and that where no arbiter is provided, each party is remitted to his own judgment to determine the fact of failure, with all its consequences.
Georgia: Our Constitution wisely gives Congress the power to punish all offenses against the laws of nations. These are sound and just principles which have received the approbation of just men in all countries and all centuries; but they are wholly disregarded by the people of the Northern States, and the Federal Government is impotent to maintain them.
2) The states argue that the North's reluctance to enforce the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 (mandating that fugitive slaves be returned to the South) means that the compact is no longer satisfactory.
South Carolina: In the state of New York even the right of transit for a slave has been denied by her tribunals; and the States of Ohio and Iowa have refused to surrender to justice fugitives charged with murder, and with inciting servile insurrection in the State of Virginia. Thus the constituted compact has been deliberately broken and disregarded by the non-slaveholding States, and the consequence follows that South Carolina is released from her obligation.
Texas: The States… by solemn legislative enactments, have deliberately, directly or indirectly violated the 3rd clause of the 2nd section of the 4th article [the Fugitive Slave Clause] of the federal constitution, and laws passed in pursuance thereof; thereby annulling a material provision of the compact, designed by its framers to perpetuate the amity between the members of the confederacy and to secure the rights of the slave-holding States in their domestic institutions-- a provision founded in justice and wisdom, and without the enforcement of which the compact fails to accomplish the object of its creation.
1) All of the states negatively mention Abraham Lincoln's election and his suspected abolitionist leanings.
Georgia: This is the party to whom the people of the North have committed the Government. They raised their standard in 1856 and were barely defeated. They entered the Presidential contest again in 1860 and succeeded. The prohibition of slavery in the Territories, hostility to it everywhere, the equality of the black and white races, disregard of all constitutional guarantees in its favor, were boldly proclaimed by its leaders and applauded by its followers.
South Carolina: On the 4th day of March next, this party will take possession of the Government. It has announced that the South shall be excluded from the common territory, that the judicial tribunals shall be made sectional, and that a war must be waged against slavery until it shall cease throughout the United States.
Texas: And, finally, by the combined sectional vote of the seventeen non-slave-holding States, they have elected as president and vice-president of the whole confederacy two men whose chief claims to such high positions are their approval of these long continued wrongs, and their pledges to continue them to the final consummation of these schemes for the ruin of the slave-holding States.
Mississippi: It has recently obtained control of the Government, by the prosecution of its unhallowed schemes, and destroyed the last expectation of living together in friendship and brotherhood. Utter subjugation awaits us in the Union, if we should consent longer to remain in it.
2) Georgia accuses Northern manufacturing interests of exploiting the South and dominating the federal government.
Georgia: The material prosperity of the North was greatly dependent on the Federal Government; that of the South not at all. In the first years of the Republic the navigating, commercial, and manufacturing interests of the North began to seek profit and aggrandizement at the expense of the agricultural interests. Even the owners of fishing smacks sought and obtained bounties for pursuing their own business (which yet continue), and $500,000 is now paid them annually out of the Treasury. The navigating interests begged for protection against foreign shipbuilders and against competition in the coasting trade. Congress granted both requests, and by prohibitory acts gave an absolute monopoly of this business to each of their interests, which they enjoy without diminution to this day. Not content with these great and unjust advantages, they have sought to throw the legitimate burden of their business as much as possible upon the public; they have succeeded in throwing the cost of light-houses, buoys, and the maintenance of their seamen upon the Treasury, and the Government now pays above $2,000,000 annually for the support of these objects. Theses interests, in connection with the commercial and manufacturing classes, have also succeeded, by means of subventions to mail steamers and the reduction in postage, in relieving their business from the payment of about $7,000,000 annually, throwing it upon the public Treasury under the name of postal deficiency. The manufacturing interests entered into the same struggle early, and has clamored steadily for Government bounties and special favors. This interest was confined mainly to the Eastern and Middle non-slave-holding States. Wielding these great States it held great power and influence, and its demands were high fidelity ear plugs near me full proportion to its power. The manufacturers and miners wisely based their demands upon special facts and reasons rather than upon general principles, and thereby mollified much of the opposition of the opposing interest. They pleaded in their favor the infancy of their business in this country, the scarcity of labor and capital, the hostile legislation of other countries toward them, the great necessity of their fabrics in the time of war, and the necessity of high duties to pay the debt incurred in our war for independence. These reasons prevailed, and they received for many years enormous bounties by the general acquiescence of the whole country.
3) Texas expresses dissatisfaction with federal lego legends of chima lavals journey game download protection.
Texas: The Federal Government, while but partially under the control of these our unnatural and sectional enemies, has for years almost entirely failed to protect the lives and property of the people of Texas against the Indian savages on our border, and more recently against the murderous forays of banditti from the neighboring territory of Mexico; and when our State government has expended large amounts for such purpose, the Federal Government has refuse reimbursement therefor, thus rendering our condition more insecure and harassing than it was during the existence of the Republic of Texas.
Debates concerning the true causes of the Civil War are unlikely to cease. Historians often cherry-pick evidence that supports preconceived notions while ignoring large quantities of contradictory material. When that impulse is fueled by a fervent desire to find reconciliation and consensus, as was the case after the Civil War, the work of historians becomes especially murky. Primary sources such as the Declarations of Causes are essential to a balanced study of history.
The idea of states’ rights dates back to Thomas Jefferson, who himself drew on the “social contract” theories of the British philosophers Thomas Hobbes (1588–1679) and John Locke (1632–1704). Jefferson maintained that the United States was formed through a social contract between the individual states rather than the people as a whole. In other words, because these states had united voluntarily to form a union—in Jefferson’s language, a “compact”—the U.S. government derived its power only from them. This understanding of American government soon found expression in the U.S. Constitution. In 1791, the Ninth and Tenth amendments were ratified, reserving all powers not expressly granted to the federal government to the states and/or the people.
The nature of these rights and powers was hotly disputed just a few years later. In 1798, the Federalist-controlled U.S. Congress passed and the Federalist U.S. president John Adams signed the Alien and Sedition Acts. The Federalist Party favored a strong national government, and, according to the Alien and Sedition Acts, that government was now authorized to place restrictions on immigration and penalize certain kinds of speech, in particular the kind of speech coming from newspapers supporting the opposition Democratic-Republican Party. Some editors were even jailed.
In response, Jefferson, then Adams’s vice president, secretly participated in drafting the Virginia and Kentucky Resolutions, passed by Virginia in 1798 and Kentucky in 1799. The separate resolutions provided an early articulation of a state’s right to nullify—or declare null and void—a federal law it deemed to be contrary to its own rights and interests. While the New England states officially rejected the resolutions, they were nevertheless seduced by the principles.
The Hartford Convention and the Nullification Crisis
The issue came up again during the War of 1812. A few New England Federalists who opposed the war and the administration of U.S. president James Madison, a Democratic-Republican, broke with their party and embraced states’ rights. Delegations from Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Rhode Island met in Hartford, Connecticut, from December 1814 until January 1815 to air their complaints and even to discuss secession. Although historians disagree about how serious any of the Hartford Convention’s twenty-six delegates were about secession, the public took a dim view of such talk either way. Ultimately, the United States who is edmond dantes its war against Great Britain, and the Federalists met resounding defeat at the polls in 1816. The party eventually collapsed.
The Nullification Crisis was the last outbreak of states’ rights fever before the sectional crises of the 1850s. The Tariff of 1828 placed a tax on European imports in order to protect New England industry, a policy that hurt some southern businessmen. When, after taking office, U.S. president Andrew Jackson did nothing to mollify tariff opponents, the South Carolina legislature took matters into its own hands and declared the tax null and void within the state.
Jackson was even challenged within his own administration. His independent-minded vice president, John C. Calhoun of South Carolina, used the crisis to articulate a constitutional framework for states’ rights, forming the Nullifier Party to represent his ideas. (Not surprisingly, he resigned his office in 1832.) Jackson responded in force, asserting the power of the federal government by dispatching warships to Charleston Harbor, South Carolina. Only the Compromise Tariff of 1833, proposed by U.S. senator Henry Clay of Kentucky, managed to relieve tensions. The Whig Party was founded that same year in opposition to Jackson.
Slavery and Secession
The sectional crises of the 1850s came in the wake of the Mexican War (1846–1848). The United States had won from Mexico about 500,000 square miles of land—in addition to Texas, the current states of California, Nevada, and Utah, and parts of Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico, and Wyoming—and now hoped to absorb it into the Union without upsetting the delicate balance of power between slave and free states. At issue was whether and how slavery would spread to these new territories. After years of angry negotiations, the Whig and Democratic parties agreed on the Compromise of 1850. The deal admitted California into the Union as a free state, abolished the slave trade in Washington, D.C., passed a new Fugitive Slave Act, and made provisions for “popular sovereignty”—wherein the people of the remaining territories would decide for themselves the issue of slavery.
Crisis was averted, but not for long. Two actions of the federal government enflamed the sectional crisis even further, angering abolitionists and sparking defensive reactions in the South. The Fugitive Slave Act required free states to cooperate in the capture of escaped slaves within their borders. And in Dred Scott v. Sandford (1857), the United States Supreme Court ruled, in part, that slavery could not be restricted in the territories. These actions represented the work of a strong federal government but, ironically, were hailed by Southerners, who abandoned their commitment to states’ rights when it served their interests as slaveholders. Slavery, ultimately, was more important than states’ rights. In the meantime, the sectional crisis contributed to a gradual political realignment.
The Second Party System (1837–1852), a period in which political allegiances were fairly evenly divided between the Whig and Democratic parties, was coming to an end. Instead of identifying with their party, Americans were beginning to identify more strongly with their section. They were either Northerners or Southerners. (The Whig Party dissolved as a result, not long after its candidate, Virginian Winfield Scott, was thumped in the presidential election of 1852.) Indeed, the sections, at least on the surface, had developed distinctive economies and cultures. Historians disagree on the degree to which these differences were real, but certainly many Northern cities had been transformed by the Industrial Revolution into manufacturing centers. The Southern economy, meanwhile, had become increasingly tied to slavery and its expansion.
Southern leaders, and especially “fire-eating” Democrats of the Deep South, worried about protecting slavery. If the federal government was seen to side against them, their response was at the ready: states’ rights. Still, states’ rights was only a means to an end. Slavery was always most important, a fact illustrated by the debate over popular sovereignty. The right of people in a state or territory to determine for themselves whether to allow slavery was most famously championed by U.S. senator Stephen A. Douglas of Illinois as part of the Kansas-Nebraska Act (1854). Because it took power away from the federal government and gave it to the people, popular sovereignty seemed to jibe with the principles of states’ rights, yet the fire-eaters still opposed it. They were unwilling to risk the possibility that popular sovereignty would limit the spread of slavery, preferring instead to rely on the power of the federal government.
Everything changed in 1860, however. In the North, the antislavery Republican Party had stepped confidently into the void left by the Whig Party, and when its candidate, Abraham Lincoln of Illinois, was elected U.S. president on a platform of limiting the spread of slavery, the South rebelled. With the “peculiar institution” considered to be under attack from the federal government, states’ rights became a cornerstone of Southern nationalism. Eleven slave states, citing the works of Jefferson, Madison, and Calhoun, seceded from the Union in the winter and spring of 1860–1861 and formed the Confederate States of America.
The Civil War and After
At the start of the Civil War, states’ rights was initially a unifying principle around which Southerners rallied to the Confederate cause, but the demands of war forced government and political officials to abandon their high ideals. In their defense of states’ rights against the “misguided frenzy and folly and madness” of the U.S. government (to quote the Virginia newspaper editor John M. McCue), Confederates tried to convince Southerners of all classes that they were a unique people who possessed a purity, honor, and chivalry that could not be found above the Mason-Dixon Line. States’ rights became not just a political argument, but a personal one, too. Confederate propagandists turned any perceived attack on the rights of states into an attack on a whole people and their way of life. On May 3, 1861, the Staunton Vindicator spoke for many in Virginia and the South when it argued, “We are repelling aggression. We are defending our firesides and homes.”
Slavery, although largely understood to be a cause of the war, was not a compelling rallying cry because it divided whites along class lines. It was, however, useful as a metaphor for the plight of Southerners, who were imagined to be the helpless victims of a federal government now under the control of antislavery Republicans. The Staunton Spectator complained of Republican “tyrants who would enslave them,” described Northerners as slaves under such a regime, and complained that the Lincoln administration, in assuming power “under the pretence [of] regard for the negro, had riveted the chains of slavery upon millions of white men.” Of course, the South had once depended upon a strong federal government to protect the rights of slaveholders; now, in defense of slavery, it attacked that government as an affront to its most basic collective and individual rights.
While states’ rights may have been an important symbol of the Confederate cause, the philosophy—always malleable in the hands of Southerners—did not prevent Jefferson Davis from creating a strong federal government, which he considered crucial in fighting the war. He persuaded the Confederate Congress to pass legislation allowing for the conscription of men into the army, the confiscation of private property (otherwise known as impressment), the declaration of martial law, and the restriction of habeas corpus rights.
The Lincoln administration also pushed hard against the traditional boundaries of federal authority, but it was more difficult for Davis. At times, he was hamstrung by a political culture founded on states’ rights and the hedging of federal power. Davis’s own vice president, Alexander Stephens of Georgia, declared many of the Confederate government’s actions dangerous and unconstitutional. Joseph E. Brown of Georgia was one of several governors who vigorously objected to conscription. Instead of honoring the national draft—the first in American history—he declared one of his own for the state militia. And many Confederate citizens turned against the government, whose power they came to resent. Angry mobs freed draft evaders from jails, and committees were formed to protest impressment. Perhaps the more important point, though, is that Davis was able to consolidate so much power in his government so easily.
An attachment to the ideals of states’ rights helped ignite the Civil War, but that same attachment could not also survive the war. The United States that emerged following the Confederate surrender at Appomattox was one that firmly rejected the notion of a voluntary compact between the states, and its federal government was considerably stronger as a result. Still, the myth of the Lost Cause—an interpretation of the Civil War dating back to the postwar writings of Confederate veterans such as Jubal A. Early—has insisted on the legitimacy of states’ rights and secession. That the Lost Cause has persisted for so long and has been largely accepted by popular culture suggests that the victory against states’ rights was hardly complete.
South Carolina Leaves Union, Tensions Increase
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Welcome to THE MAKING OF A NATION – American history in VOA Special English.
South Carolina withdrew from the United States on December 20, 1860. The state seceded because a Republican, Abraham Lincoln, had been elected president. The Republicans were a new party, and Lincoln was the first to be elected president. They wanted to stop slavery from spreading into the western territories.
Southern states believed they had a constitutional right to take property -- including slaves -- anywhere. They also feared that any interference with slavery would end their way of life.
This week in our series, Frank Oliver and Larry West tell what happened after South Carolina left the Union.
South Carolina faced several problems after it seceded. The most serious problem was what to do with property owned by the federal government. There were several United States forts in and around the Port of Charleston. Fort Moultrie had fewer than seventy soldiers. Castle Pinckney had only one. And Fort Sumter -- which was still being built -- had none.
The commander of the forts asked for more men. Without them, he said, he could not defend the forts. The army refused. It told the commander to defend the forts as best he could.
He was told to do nothing that might cause South Carolina to attack. If South Carolina attacked, or planned to attack, then he could move his men into the fort that would be what state was first to secede from the union to defend. That would probably be the new one, Fort Sumter.
The governor of South Carolina planned to stop any movement of federal troops. He ordered state soldiers to stop every boat in Charleston Harbor. They were to permit no United States troops to reach Fort Sumter. If any boat carrying troops refused to stop, the state soldiers were to sink it and seize the fort.
Six days after South Carolina seceded from the Union, the commander of Charleston's forts decided to move his men to Fort Sumter. They would move as soon as it was dark.
The federal troops crossed the port in small boats. The state soldiers did not see them. The governor was furious when he learned what had happened. He demanded that the federal troops leave Fort Sumter. The commander said they would stay.
The governor then ordered state soldiers to seize the other two forts in Charleston Harbor. And he ordered the state flag raised over all other federal property in the city.
President James Buchanan, who would leave office in just a few months, was forced to deal with the situation. His cabinet was deeply divided on the issue. The southerners wanted him to recognize South Carolina and order all federal troops out of Charleston Harbor. The northerners said he must not give up any federal property or rights.
The president agreed to meet with three representatives from South Carolina. They had come to Washington to negotiate the future of federal property in their state. The attorney general said the meeting was a mistake.
"These gentlemen," he said, "claim to be ambassadors of South Carolina. This is foolish. They cannot be ambassadors. They are lawbreakers, traitors, and should be arrested. You cannot negotiate with them."
The attorney general and the secretary of state threatened to resign if President Buchanan gave in to South Carolina's demands. The president finally agreed not to give in.
He said he would keep federal troops in Charleston Harbor. And he said Fort Sumter would be defended against all hostile action. Monthly payments products amazon prime the last day of 1860, he ordered 200 troops and extra supplies sent to Fort Sumter.
The War Department wanted to keep the operation secret. So the troops and supplies were put on a fast civilian ship, instead of a slower warship. It was thought that a civilian ship could get into Charleston Harbor before state forces could act.
But a southern Senator learned of the operation. He warned the governor of South Carolina. When the ship arrived in Charleston Harbor, South Carolina soldiers were waiting.
The soldiers lit a cannon and fired a warning shot. The ship refused to stop. Other cannons then opened fire.
The commander of federal troops at Fort Sumter had a difficult decision to make. He had received permission to defend the fort, if attacked. But his orders said nothing about defending ships. He knew that if he opened fire, the United States and South Carolina would be at war.
The decision was made for him. South Carolina's cannons finally hit the ship. The ship slowed, then turned back to sea. It returned north with all the troops and supplies.
The commander of Fort Sumter sent a message to the governor of South Carolina.
"Your forces," he wrote, "fired this morning on a civilian ship flying the flag of my government. Since I have not been informed that South Carolina declared war on the United States, I can only believe that this hostile act was done without your knowledge or permission. For this reason -- and only this -- I did not fire on your guns."
If, the commander said, the governor had approved the shelling, it would be an act of war. And he would be forced to close the Port of Charleston. No ship would be permitted to enter or leave.
The governor's answer came back within hours. He said South Carolina was now independent. He said the attempt by the United States to strengthen its force at Fort Sumter was clearly an act of aggression. And he demanded that the commander surrender.
During the crisis over Fort Sumter, Congress tried to find a compromise that might prevent war. Lawmakers proposed a new line across the country. South of the line, slavery would be permitted. North of the line, slavery would be illegal.
Many Republicans supported the proposal, even though the Republican Party opposed the spread of slavery into the western territories.
One Republican, however, rejected the idea completely. He was Abraham Lincoln, who would take office as president in March. Lincoln said there could be no compromise on extending slavery. "If there is," he said, "then all our hard work is lost. If trouble comes, it is better to let it come now than at some later time."
The trouble would come soon. One by one, the states of the South seceded.
By February first, 1861, six states had followed South Carolina out of the Union. A few days later, representatives from the states met in Montgomery, Alabama. Their job was to create a new nation. It would be an independent republic called the Confederate States of America.
The convention approved a constitution for the new nation. The document was like the Constitution of the United States, but with major changes. The southern constitution gave greater importance to the rights of states. And it said there could be no laws against slavery.
The convention named former United States Senator Jefferson Davis to be president of the Confederate States of America.
Davis did not want civil war. But he was not afraid of it. He said: "Our separation from the old Union is complete. The time for compromise has passed. Should others try to change our decision with force, they will smell southern gunpowder and feel the steel of southern swords."
Jefferson Davis left his farm in Mississippi to become president of the Confederate States of America on February eleventh. On that same day, Abraham Lincoln left his home in Illinois to become president of the United States.
As Lincoln got on the train that would take him to Washington, he said:
"I now leave, not knowing when -- or whether ever -- I may return. The task before me is greater than that which rested upon our first president. Without the help of God, I cannot succeed. With that assistance, I cannot fail. Let us hope that all yet will be well."
Our program was written by Frank Beardsley. The narrators were Frank Oliver and Larry West. Transcripts, MP3s and podcasts of our programs can be found, along with historical images, at voaspecialenglish.com. Join us again next week for THE MAKING OF A NATION -- an American history series in VOA Special English.
Why Did the Southern States Secede?
It shouldn’t need to be said, but the Confederacy didn’t stand for opposing federal overreach or eliminating handouts to big business–it stood for slavery.
Anthony Comegna received his M.A. (2012) and Ph.D. (2016) in history from the University of Pittsburgh, where he specialized in early American, intellectual, and Atlantic history. His dissertation, “The Dupes of Hope Forever:” The Loco‐Foco or Equal Rights Movement, 1820s‐1870s, revives the submerged and forgotten legacy of locofocoism. Anthony has taught undergraduate courses in American history and Western Civilization. He produces regular historical content for Libertarianism.org and is the writer/host of Liberty Chronicles. He currently works at the Institute for Humane Studies as the Academic Programs Design Manager.
It has long been conventional wisdom among certain libertarians and classical liberal historians that the southern Confederacy was a great bastion of Jeffersonianism. In the South, many twentieth‐century libertarians thought they had found a political culture supporting free trade (especially through low tariffs) and limited government (using the vehicle of “States’ Rights”). This view, however, ultimately rests on a privileged selection of the evidence and a good deal of historical forgetfulness, most likely the result of twentieth‐century history more so than anything from the nineteenth. To correct such mistakes, we will examine in depth the documents through which southern states proclaimed themselves free and independent of the Union government to discover the reasons they themselves offered for doing so. While most states in the Confederacy simply passed Ordinances of Secession, South Carolina, Georgia, Mississippi, Texas, and Virginia passed additional “Declarations of Causes,” offering invaluable insight into the conventions’ political machinations and motivations. As the first state to secede, South Carolina’s “Declarations” established precedent and unabashedly claimed that the primary reason for secession remained the refusal of northern states to comply with the Fugitive Slave Act and the Dred Scott (1857) decision.
We begin with South Carolina’s explanation of the legal and historical basis for state secession, emphasizing the existence of the states as prior to the existence of the Union, which was in fact a new government created by thirteen sovereign and independent states. In creating this government, South Carolina declared, the states did not transfer their sovereignty and retained the right to dissolve the compact:
The people of the State of South Carolina, in Convention assembled, on the 26th day of April, A.D., 1852, declared that the frequent violations of the Constitution of the United States, by the Federal Government, and its encroachments upon the reserved rights of the States, fully justified this What state was first to secede from the union in then withdrawing from the Federal Union; but in deference to the opinions and wishes of the other slaveholding States, she forbore at that time to exercise this right. Since that time, these encroachments have continued to increase, school student bank account further forbearance 5 news kfsm fort smith to be a virtue…
After their unanimous declaration of independence in 1776, thirteen sovereign and independent new melvin edmonds songs assumed their positions among fellow nations of the world. By 1783, these new countries had formed a confederated government in which each party retained sovereignty. In the Treaty of Paris, King George III recognized each former colony as a separate belligerent, the sovereignty of each now internationally undisputed.
In 1787, Deputies were appointed by the States to revise the Articles of Confederation, and on 17th September, 1787, these Deputies recommended for the adoption of the States, the Articles of Union, known as the Constitution of the United States.
The parties to whom this Constitution was submitted, were the several sovereign States…
Want to learn more about slavery in America? Check out our topic page on the subject.
Despite the persistence of Neo‐Confederate myths about the alleged prevalence of Jeffersonian political philosophy, southern intellectual and political culture gradually (though often in the form of punctuated equilibrium) shed Jefferson’s key premises of natural law and rights for several decades before the Civil War. Southerners developed in its place an indigenous form of political pragmatism based in the sovereignty of individual states. It is perhaps most important to note that the shift from natural law to “states’ rights” arguments that characterized southern political life, ca. 1800–1860, implied the denial of the universal sovereignty of individuals while upholding the sovereignty of constituted governments. As the state governments were the parties to the Constitution (neither the “whole people” nor the Union created or ratified the Constitution), state governments were bound to honor the compact. South Carolina charges, however, that frequent northern‐state refusals to enforce the Fugitive Slave Act have effectively nullified the constitutional contract which bound the states. It was, therefore, a formality for South Carolina to declare herself independent.
In the present case, that fact is established with certainty. We assert that fourteen of the States have deliberately refused, for years past, to fulfill their constitutional obligations [with respect to the Fugitive Slave Clause and Fugitive Slave Act of 1850]…
For many years these laws were executed. But an increasing hostility on the part of the non‐slaveholding States to the institution of slavery, has led to a disregard of their obligations, and the laws of the General Government have ceased to effect the objects of the Constitution. The States of Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New York, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Wisconsin and Iowa, have enacted laws which either nullify the Acts of Congress or render useless any attempt to execute them. In many of these States the fugitive is discharged from service or labor claimed, and in none of them has the State Government complied with the stipulation made in the Constitution…
Those States have assume the right of deciding upon the propriety of our domestic institutions; and have denied the rights of property established in fifteen of the States and recognized by the Constitution; they have denounced as sinful the institution of slavery; they have permitted open establishment among them of societies, whose avowed object is to disturb the peace and to eloign the property of the citizens of other States. They have encouraged and assisted thousands of our slaves to leave their homes; and those who remain, have been incited by emissaries, books and pictures to servile insurrection.
It is not the tariff, not the erosion of state authority in the face of a federal juggernaut, not the safety of Jeffersonian republicanism against Lincolnian Leviathan which prompted South Carolinian secession. Clearly and undoubtedly, South Carolina identified the failure of northern states to abide by the national Fugitive Slave Act as the primary motivating factor for secession, especially given the recent (1860) rise to power of a political party committed to keeping the national territories free of slavery. Lincoln was elected without a single vote from the South (in most southern states the Republican Party did not appear on ballots), and nothing signaled the death of southern (or slaveholding) power within the Union more than the election of a president without even consulting southern opinion on the matter. The South Carolina declaration concluded:
For twenty‐five years this agitation has been steadily increasing, until it has now secured to its aid the power of the common Government. Observing the *forms* of the Constitution, a sectional party has found within that Article establishing the What state was first to secede from the union Department, the means of subverting the Constitution itself. A geographical line has been drawn across the Union, and all the States north of that line have united in the election of a man to the high office of President of the United States, whose opinions and purposes are hostile to slavery. He is to be entrusted with the administration of the common Government, because he has declared that that “Government cannot endure permanently half slave, half free,” and that the public mind must rest in the belief that slavery is in the course of ultimate extinction.
This sectional combination for the submersion of the Constitution, has been aided in some of the States by elevating to citizenship, persons who, by the supreme law of the land, are incapable of becoming citizens; and their votes have been used to inaugurate a new policy, hostile to the South, and destructive of its beliefs and safety.
On the 4th day of March next, this party will take possession of the Government. It has announced that the South shall be excluded from the common territory, that the judicial tribunals shall be made sectional, and that a war must be waged against slavery until it shall cease throughout the United States.
The guaranties of the Constitution will then no longer exist; the equal rights of the States will be lost. The slaveholding States will no longer have the power of self‐government, or self‐protection, and the Federal Government will have become their enemy.
When Georgia proclaimed its independence and, in keeping with American tradition, listed its grievances against the Union government, it also noted the overriding and primary importance of protecting slavery over all else. Importantly, Georgia’s declaration noted first the influence and impact of northern abolitionists both on national politics and the potential security of southern society, continuing to highlight proslavery themes in the pattern established by South Carolina:
For the last ten years we have had numerous and serious causes of geico car insurance pay bill against our non‐slave‐holding confederate States with reference to the subject of African slavery. They have endeavored to weaken our security, what state was first to secede from the union disturb our domestic peace and tranquility, and persistently refused to comply with their express constitutional obligations to us in reference to that property, and by the use of their power in the Federal Government have striven to deprive us of an equal enjoyment of the common Territories of the Republic…The party of Lincoln, called the Republican party, under its present name and organization, is of recent origin. It is admitted to be an anti‐slavery party. While it attracts to itself by its creed the scattered advocates of exploded political heresies, of condemned theories in political economy, the advocates of commercial restrictions, of protection, of special privileges, of waste and corruption in the administration of Government, anti‐slavery is its mission and its purpose. By anti‐slavery it is made a power in the state…
Georgia’s “Declaration” built upon the South Carolina example by examining in‐depth the methods by which northerners had used the national government to exploit the South. To many, such arguments have been evidence of southern beliefs in the principles of free markets, limited government, and a free society. Such a reading of southern history, however, fails to account for the way in which anti‐Union arguments were ultimately subsidiary to pro‐slavery arguments. In no way could we consider the southern or Confederate project as an extension of Jeffersonian, essentially libertarian, principles:
The material prosperity of the North was greatly dependent on the Federal Government; that of the South not at all. In the first years of the Republic the navigating, commercial, and manufacturing interests of the North began to seek profit and aggrandizement at the expense of the agricultural interests. Even the owners of fishing smacks sought and obtained bounties for pursuing their own business (which yet continue), and $500,000 is now paid them annually out of the Treasury. The navigating interests begged for protection against foreign shipbuilders and against competition in the coasting trade.
Congress granted both requests, and by prohibitory acts gave an absolute monopoly of this business to each of their interests, which they enjoy without diminution to this day. Not content with these great and unjust advantages, they have sought to throw the legitimate burden of their business as much as possible upon the public; they have succeeded in throwing the cost of light‐houses, buoys, and the maintenance of their seamen upon the Treasury…
The manufacturing interests entered into the same struggle early, and has clamored steadily for Government bounties and special favors.and they received for many years enormous bounties by the general acquiescence of the whole country.
But when these reasons ceased they were no less clamorous for Government protection, but their clamors were less heeded— the country had put the principle of protection upon trial and condemned it. After having enjoyed protection to the extent of from 15 to 200 per cent. upon their entire business for above thirty years, the act of 1846 was passed. It avoided sudden change, but the principle was settled, and free trade, low duties, and economy in public expenditures was the verdict of the American people. The South and the Northwestern States sustained this policy. There was but small hope of its reversal; upon the direct issue, none at all.
Yes, the document complained that northerners had long used their disproportionate power in the House of Representatives to forcibly and unconstitutionally channel wealth from what state was first to secede from the union South northward. Yes, Georgia noted the corrupting influence of moneyed and business interests on northern politics. Yes, the secessionists singled out the tariff as a key indicator of northern power and the will to exploit southerners. But as Georgia recognized, the South gradually won each of those issues, culminating in the anti‐protectionist Walker Tariff of 1846. It was only then that the economic and political interests throughout the North began looking for a new cause to agitate:
All these classes saw this and felt it and cast about for new allies. The anti‐slavery sentiment of the North offered the best chance for success…We had acquired a large territory by successful war with Mexico; Congress had to govern it; how, in relation to slavery, was the question then demanding solution. This state of facts gave form and shape to the anti‐slavery sentiment throughout the North and the conflict began. Northern anti‐slavery men of all parties asserted the right to exclude slavery from the territory by Congressional legislation and demanded the prompt and efficient exercise of this power to that end. This insulting and unconstitutional demand was met with great moderation and firmness by the South. We had shed our blood and paid our money for its acquisition; we demanded a division of it on the line of the Missouri restriction or an equal participation in the whole of it. These propositions were refused, the agitation became general, and the public danger was great. The case of the South was impregnable. The price of the acquisition was the blood and treasure of both sections— of all, and, therefore, it belonged to all upon the principles of equity and justice…
It was, in sum, the combination of classic northern Clay‐Lincoln Whigs and long‐time antislavery activists from across the entire political spectrum into a single great (and successful) antislavery party that prompted Georgia’s secession, and decidedly not Lincoln’s position on the tariff or other questions of economic liberty. Because the ruling party (as of Lincoln’s election) refused to recognize the legitimacy of property in slaves in the national territories and half of the states, the southern political class resolved to secede and establish a nation of their own, specifically dedicated to protecting the most special of all special interests in the region, property in slaves:
This is the party to whom the people of the North have committed the Government. They raised their standard in 1856 and were barely defeated. They entered the Presidential contest again in 1860 and succeeded…
The prohibition of slavery in the Territories is the cardinal principle of this organization.
For forty years this question has been considered and debated in the halls of Congress, before the people, by the press, and before the tribunals of justice. The majority of the people of the North in 1860 decided it in their own favor. We refuse to submit to that judgment, and in vindication of our refusal we offer the Constitution of our country and point to the total absence of any express power to exclude us…
The people of Georgia how many branches does wells fargo have ever been willing to stand by this bargain, this contract; they have never sought to evade any of its obligations; they have never hitherto sought to establish any new government; they have struggled to maintain the ancient right of themselves and the human race through and by that Constitution. But they know the value of parchment rights in treacherous hands, and therefore they refuse to commit their own to the rulers whom the North offers us. Why? Because by their declared principles and policy they have outlawed $3,000,000,000 of our property in the common territories of the Union; put it under the ban of the Republic in the States where it exists and out of the protection of Federal law everywhere; because they give sanctuary to thieves and incendiaries who assail it to the whole extent of their power, in spite of their most solemn obligations and covenants; because their avowed purpose is to subvert our society and subject us not only to the loss of our property but the destruction of ourselves, our wives, and our children, and the desolation of our homes, our altars, and our firesides…
Mississippi left virtually no room to mistake her purposes in seceding from the United States, declaring that slavery, particularly slavery of “the black race,” is decreed by “nature” and in fact perfectly consonant with naturalistic, scientifically‐informed and realistic views of the modern industrial economy.
Our position is thoroughly identified with the institution of slavery— the greatest material interest of the world. Its labor supplies the product which constitutes by far the largest and most important portions of commerce of the earth. These products are peculiar to the climate verging on the tropical regions, and by an imperious law of nature, none but the black race can bear exposure to the tropical sun. These products have become necessities of the world, and a blow at slavery is a blow at commerce and civilization. That blow has been long aimed at the institution, and was at the point of reaching its consummation. There was no choice left us but submission to the mandates of abolition, or a dissolution of the Union, whose principles had been subverted to work out our ruin.
That we do not overstate the dangers to our institution, a reference to a few facts will sufficiently prove.
It has grown until it denies the right of property in slaves, and refuses protection to that right on the high seas, in the Territories, and wherever the government of the United States had jurisdiction.
It refuses the admission of new slave States into the Union, and seeks to extinguish it by confining it within its present limits, denying the power of expansion.
It tramples the original equality of the South under foot.
It has nullified the Fugitive Slave Law in almost every free State in the Union, and has utterly broken the compact which our fathers pledged their faith to maintain.
It advocates negro equality, socially and politically, and promotes insurrection and incendiarism in our midst.
Radical abolitionists from David Walker to John Brown and Lysander Spooner worked diligently for decades to disrupt and revolutionize southern slave society. Only the ascension of the Republican Party to national power provided them what state was first to secede from the union legal and military cover to seriously challenge slavery’s existence.
It has recently obtained control of the Government, by the prosecution of its unhallowed schemes, and destroyed the last expectation of living together in friendship and brotherhood.
Utter subjugation awaits us in the Union, if we should consent longer to remain in it. It is not a matter of choice, but of necessity. We must either submit to degradation, and to the loss of property worth four billions of money, or we must secede from the Union framed by ulta lynnwood store hours fathers, to secure this as well as every other species of property. For far less cause than this, our fathers separated from the Crown of England.
Texas, of course, had the distinction of being the sole sister‐republic to join the Union by treaty–a fact of critical importance to Texas’ compact theory of the Union. Regardless of the legal propriety of Texas’ secession, the Texan “Declaration’s” reasons for embracing secession as more than a theoretical possibility are rooted in the same racist fears for the future of slavery as the previous declarations:
Texas…was received into the confederacy with her own constitution, under the guarantee of the federal constitution and the compact of annexation, that she should enjoy these blessings. She was received as a commonwealth holding, maintaining and protecting the institution known as negro slavery— the servitude of the African to the white race within her limits— a relation that had existed from the first settlement of her wilderness by the white race, and which her people intended should exist in all future time. Her institutions and geographical position established the strongest ties between her and other slave‐holding States of the confederacy. Those ties have been strengthened by association. But what has been the course of the government of the United States, and of the people and authorities of the non‐slave‐holding States, since our connection with them?
The controlling majority of the Federal Government, under various pretences and disguises, has so administered the same as to exclude the citizens of the Southern States, unless under odious and unconstitutional restrictions, from all the immense territory owned in common by all the States on the Pacific Ocean, for the avowed purpose of acquiring sufficient power in the common government to use it as a means of destroying the institutions of Texas and her sister slaveholding States…
The States of Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Wisconsin, Michigan and Iowa, by solemn legislative enactments, have deliberately, directly or indirectly violated the 3rd clause of the 2nd section of the 4th article [i.e. the fugitive slave clause] of the federal constitution, and laws passed in pursuance thereof; thereby annulling a material provision of the compact…
Texas follows Mississippi in maintaining the naturalism and scientific righteousness of “their beneficent and patriarchal system of African slavery.” According to the Texas “Declaration,” northerners erred in “proclaiming the debasing doctrine of equality of all men, irrespective of race or color— a doctrine at war with nature, in opposition to the experience of mankind, and in violation of the plainest revelations of Divine Law.” In the final estimation of the state of Texas, the Republican ascension to power was once again jojo heritage for the future controller primary motivating factor in recommending immediate secession from the Union. Republican power signaled northern willingness to protect abolitionist agitators throughout the Union while restricting slavery to its current borders:
They have for years past encouraged and sustained lawless organizations to steal our slaves and prevent their recapture, and have repeatedly murdered Southern citizens while lawfully seeking their rendition.
They have invaded Southern soil and murdered unoffending citizens, and through the press their leading men and a fanatical pulpit have bestowed praise upon the actors and assassins in these crimes, while the governors of several of their States have refused to deliver parties implicated and indicted for participation in such offenses, upon the legal demands of the States aggrieved.
They have, through the mails and hired emissaries, sent seditious pamphlets and papers among us to stir up servile insurrection and bring blood and carnage to our firesides.
They have sent hired emissaries among us to burn our towns and distribute arms and poison to our slaves for the same purpose.
They have impoverished the slave‐holding States by unequal and partial legislation, thereby enriching themselves by draining our substance.
Notice that this previous statement is the first and only time one of the seceding states has cited economic exploitation by the North in isolation from the slavery issue as a reason for seceding. Yet, nestled as it is in a bed of proslavery justifications for secession, it hardly serves as a sufficiently libertarian reason to support the Confederate project.
They have refused to vote appropriations for protecting Texas against ruthless savages, for the sole reason that she is a slave‐holding State.
Lincoln’s navigation of the secession crisis and ensuing Civil War can legitimately be described as unprepared at best, and at moments susceptible to severe strategic missteps.
Lincoln’s victory, once again, was the final blow to southern safety within the Union:
In view of these and many other facts, it is meet that our own views should be distinctly proclaimed.
We hold as www prudential com online retirement com truths that the governments of the various States, and of the confederacy itself, were established exclusively by the white race, for themselves and their posterity; that the African race had no agency in their establishment; that they were rightfully held and regarded as an inferior and mm to cm to m chart race, and in that condition only could their existence in this country be rendered beneficial or tolerable.
That in this free government *all white men are and of right ought to be entitled to equal civil and political rights;* that the servitude of the African race, as existing in these States, is mutually beneficial to both bond and free, and is abundantly authorized and justified by the experience of mankind, and the revealed will of the Almighty Creator, as recognized by all Christian nations; while the destruction of the existing relations between the two races, as advocated by our sectional enemies, would bring inevitable calamities upon both and desolation upon the fifteen slave‐holding states.
In fact, at the very end of our survey of “Declarations of Causes,” only Virginia’s refused to dwell on the subject of slavery. Virginia does not spend ink justifying slavery, nor deprecating the rights of Africans or African Americans–that only whites had rights in Virginia was simply assumed. Rather, the document’s focus is on the unconstitutional actions of the Lincoln administration and the resultant nullification of the federal compact. It is the compact theory of the Union northern nevada medical center reno to a point, rigidly applied to a serious situation confronting Virginians, employed only after political means of resolving the sectional conflict clearly failed to resolve the fundamental conflict between northern “Free Society” and southern “Slave Society.”
The people of Virginia…having declared that the powers granted under the said Constitution were derived from the people of the United States, and might be resumed whensoever what state was first to secede from the union same should be perverted to their injury and oppression; and the Federal Government, having perverted said powers, not only to the injury of the people of Virginia, but to the oppression of the Southern Slaveholding States.
Now, therefore, we, the people of Virginia, do declare and ordain that the Union between the State of Virginia and the other States under the Constitution aforesaid, is hereby dissolved, and that the State of Virginia is in the full possession and exercise of all the rights of sovereignty which belong and appertain to a free and independent State. And they do further declare that the said Constitution of the United States of America is no longer binding on any of the citizens of this State.
While discussions of the future safety of slavery dominated the Virginia secession convention throughout the Spring of 1861, fretful worrying about slavery’s future turned to fearful reaction after Fort Sumter and Lincoln’s call for volunteers to invade the Confederacy. By then, what appeared to many Virginians as yet another deeply divisive, but eminently compromisable political problem transmogrified into a consolidationist‐abolitionist invasion of the South. The Virginia “Declaration,” what state was first to secede from the union, well represents what has been called “The Myth of the Lost Cause,” the notion that secession was really all about maintaining classic, Jeffersonian, liberal government in the face of Leviathan‐from‐the‐North. Yet even lurking behind Virginia’s rather tame proclamation were fears of slave rebellion and class revolution against planters in particular and white southerners more broadly. Even when the Old Dominion slowly rose to the occasion, she did so to defend slavery from the constant stream of abolitionist threats to southern social order.
While libertarians are often anxious to find a hero among a sea of bad actors in the Civil War period, I would suggest that we are on far better ground in asserting that neither the Union nor the Confederate governments actually represented the interests and wills of the average northern or southern Americans, much less the views of we modern libertarians (or even our closest contemporary ancestors, the Loco‐Focos). Both sides, in fact, sought to use the force and power of the national government to defend special, sectional interests and fought a horrifyingly destructive war to protect powerful, quickly‐centralizing nation‐states: one built on finance capital and industry, one built on finance capital and plantation slavery. While there were indeed plenty of heroes alive in the antebellum and Civil War eras, we should not delude ourselves into thinking that Lincoln’s main enemies were necessarily our own friends.
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Secession, as it applies to the outbreak of the American Civil War, comprises the series of events that began on December 20, 1860, and extended through June 8 of the next year when eleven states in the Lower and Upper South severed their ties what state was first to secede from the union the Union. The first seven seceding states of the Lower South set up a provisional government at Montgomery, Alabama. After hostilities began at Fort Sumter in Charleston Harbor on April 12, 1861, the border states of Virginia, Arkansas, Tennessee, and North Carolina joined the new government, which then weather underground obx its capital to Richmond, Virginia. The Union was thus divided approximately on geographic lines. Twenty-one northern and border states retained the style and title of the United States, while the eleven slave states adopted the nomenclature of the Confederate States of America.
The border slave states of Maryland, Delaware, Kentucky, and Missouri remained with the Union, although they all contributed volunteers to the Confederacy. Fifty counties of western Virginia were loyal to the Union government, and in 1863 this area was constituted the separate state of West Virginia. Secession in practical terms meant that about a third of the population with substantial material resources had withdrawn from what had constituted a single nation and established a separate government.
The term secession had been used as early as 1776. South Carolina threatened separation when the Continental Congress sought to tax all the colonies on the basis of a total population count that would include slaves. Secession in this instance and throughout the antebellum period came to mean the assertion of minority sectional interests against what was perceived to be a hostile or indifferent majority. Secession had been a matter of concern to some members of the Constitutional Convention that met at Philadelphia in 1787. Theoretically, secession was bound up closely with Whig thought, which claimed the right of revolution against a despotic government. Algernon Sidney, John Locke, and the British Commonwealth Men argued this theme, and it played a prominent role in the American Revolution.
Any federal republic by its very nature invited challenge to central control, a danger that James Madison recognized. He sought at the convention a clause that would prohibit secession from the proposed union once the states had ratified the Constitution. In debate over other points, Madison repeatedly warned that secession or “disunion” was a major concern. The Constitution as framed and finally accepted by the states divided the exercise of sovereign power between the states and the national government. By virtue of the fact that it was a legal document and in most respects enumerated the powers of the central government, the division was weighted toward the states. Yet much of the charter was drawn up in general terms and was susceptible to interpretation that might vary with time and circumstance.
The very thing that Madison feared took on a concrete form during the party battles of the Washington and Adams administrations. And paradoxically, Madison found himself involved with those who seemed to threaten separation. In their reaction to the arbitrary assumption of power in the Alien and Sedition Acts, Thomas Jefferson and Madison argued for state annulment of this legislation. Jefferson’s response in the Kentucky Resolution advanced the compact interpretation of the federal Constitution. Madison’s Virginia Resolution was far more moderate, but both resolutions looked to state action against what were deemed unconstitutional laws. The national judiciary, they felt, was packed with their opponents. Neither resolution claimed original sovereignty for the states, but both argued for a strict reading of enumerated powers. During the War of 1812, a disaffected Federalist majority in New England advanced the compact theory and considered secession from the Union.
As modernization began to take hold in the United States, differences between the two major sections grew more pronounced: a plantation cotton culture worked by slave labor became concentrated in the South and industrial development featuring free labor in the North. A wave of reform activity in Europe and the United States made the bank of america telephone banking number or at least the restriction of slavery a significant goal in the free states. Since abolition struck at the labor system as well as the social structure of the slave states, threats of secession punctuated the political dialogue from 1819 through 1860.
John C. Calhoun, the leading spokesman of the slave states, charged frequently and eloquently that the South and its way of life were under assault from an industrializing North. Like other proponents of endangered minorities, he looked to the Virginia and Kentucky Resolutions and their assertion of the federal compact for the basis of his defense. He argued that a state or a group of states could nullify a federal law that was felt to be against a particular interest. What state was first to secede from the union Calhoun made a fundamental extension of the Jeffersonian concept of states’ rights and claimed original undivided sovereignty for the people acting through the states. Although always seeking an accommodation for the South and its slave plantation system within the Union, Calhoun had hoped that nullification was a proper, constitutional alternative to disunion. But he eventually invoked secession with particular vehemence after the territorial acquisitions of the Mexican War and the formation of the Free-Soil party in 1848. Nationalists like John Marshall, Joseph Story, and Daniel Webster countered the Calhoun argument. They declared that the Constitution operated directly through the states on 1st mariner bank near me people, not upon the states as corporate bodies, and their view gained wide acceptance in the free states.
Calhoun was instrumental in fostering southern unity on a sectional basis and in formulating the call for a convention of delegates from the slave states to be held at Nashville, Tennessee, in 1850. There is little doubt that had he lived, Calhoun would have been a formidable force for secession as the ultimate weapon. His death and the working out of a flagstar bank troy that strengthened moderate opinion in both sections kept the secessionist element at bay temporarily.
But the territorial issue flared up again, this time with renewed fury over the question of whether Kansas should enter the Union as a free or slave state. By now antislavery sentiment had grown significantly in the free states. And opinion leaders in the slave states drew closer together in defense against what they saw as an impending attack on their institutions. The Kansas question created the Republican party, a frankly sectional political organization, and it nominated John C. Frémont for president on a Free-Soil platform in 1856. Although the Democrats, still functioning along national lines, managed to elect James Buchanan president by a slim margin, the slave states threatened secession if the Republicans should win the election in 1860.
The South was committed to an agrarian way of life. It was a land where profitable and efficient plantations worked by slave labor produced cotton for the world market. It was also a land where a majority of its white population was made up of subsistence farmers who lived isolated lives on the edge of poverty and whose literacy rates were low compared with those in the more densely populated North.
The South nevertheless was beginning to industrialize, a factor that added to the social tensions surfacing during the 1850s between the haves–plantation owners and professional groups in the few urban centers–and the have-nots–an increasingly restive yeoman or small-farmer group. But the issue of black servitude provided cohesion for the white bloc and contributed greatly to a patriarchal system wherein the masses of the whites still looked to a planter-professional elite for political and social guidance. Although the northern masses might also defer to the opinions of the powerful and living conditions among the urban poor were precarious, educational levels were far higher than in the South. The ethic of free capital and free labor was deeply ingrained in the cities and in farm communities as well. It was this ethic that formed the ideological basis for a broad antislavery movement.
Southern leaders were concerned over internal stresses in their society and were increasingly aware of the moral and social repugnance the slave system engendered not only in the North but also in Western Europe. Southern leadership, though surely not unified in its response to a political victory of antislavery forces in 1860, began as early as 1858 to prepare its section for separation from the Union.
Even though the Republican platform of 1860 disavowed any move that would interfere with slavery where the custom and the law of a given state upheld it, many of the more extreme opinion makers in the South promoted the idea that a Republican victory meant eventual emancipation and social and political equality for their black population. So inflamed were the voters in South Carolina that before the election of Lincoln, they had chosen a convention that was committed to secession on news of a Republican victory. The situation of other states in the Deep South was more complicated. Elections were held promptly, but the results showed considerable division on secession. Three factions emerged: those for immediate secession, those who sought delay until the policy of the new administration toward the slave states became clear, and those who believed they could bargain with the new administration. All these groups, however, were united in support of the doctrine of secession. With this idea as a basic commitment, the better organized immediate secessionists what state was first to secede from the union able to prevail.
The close connection between the right to revolution and separation from the governing power in the spirit of 1776 was an early theme in the provisional Confederacy. To be sure, the revolution was posited as a peaceful one. Separation from a Union perceived to be under the control of a tyrannical power that would destroy southern institutions was the objective.
Confederate leaders at this early date thought that the North would not fight to preserve the Union. But the provisional government nevertheless began purchasing arms and munitions, and seceded states started to equip and train their militias.
State and Confederate government authorities seized federal forts, arsenals, and other national property within their jurisdiction. When Abraham Lincoln was inaugurated on March 4, 1861, federal troops held only Fort Sumter in Charleston Harbor, Fort Pickens off the Florida coast, and one or two other outposts in the South.
Concerned about the loyalty of the border states of Virginia, Maryland, Missouri, and Kentucky, the new administration went so far as to offer the slave states an amendment to the Constitution that would guarantee slavery where it legally existed. Lincoln himself in his inaugural address pledged only to hold federal property that was in the possession of the Union on March 4, 1861.
The provisional Confederacy likewise sought vigorously to stimulate secession sentiment in the border states. Had all the border slave states thrown in their lot with one or the other government, there might not have been a war, or conversely, separation might well have become an accomplished fact. As it was, however, the prompt action of the Lincoln administration after the bombardment and surrender of Fort Sumter secured Maryland and Delaware for the Union. Kentucky proclaimed its neutrality but eventually remained loyal to the Union. Missouri, too, though a major battleground for the contending forces, contributed most of its resources in men and matériel to the Union.
Once the war was joined, waves of patriotic sentiment swept over North and South. Vocal political opposition would exist on both sides, but it was never strong enough to overthrow either government. Secession as revolution, an early theme in southern rhetoric, was not emphasized after the formation of the Confederacy. Rather, Jefferson’s compact theory was enshrined in its Constitution. A nation could not have been formed, nor a war fought, if the states were wholly independent of any central authority.
Behind it all, of course, was the unity of a minority geographical section defending a distinct set of institutions that were thought to be under attack. The original federal Union that shared the exercise of power with the states strengthened the concept of secession. It also supplied a pretext for southern leaders to seize the initiative and form a separate nation.
The Reader’s Companion to American History. Eric Foner and John A. Garraty, Editors. Copyright © 1991 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.