(CIVIL WAR in the UNITED STATES – continued)
Abraham Lincoln won the presidential election on November 6, 1860. Horace Greeley, publisher of the New York Tribune, tried in the days that followed to calm Southern fears, while Southern politicians saw Lincoln as committed to the extinction of slavery. It appeared to them that the political power that the South had been exercising in Congress had come to an end. James Henry Hammond, Senator from South Carolina, cautioned his Southern colleagues against panic, pointing out that Lincoln's party, the Republicans, controlled neither the Senate nor the House of Representatives nor the Supreme Court and that the Republicans lacked the means to distribute patronage. He said that seceding would be foolish and self-destructive.
Senator Hammond caved in to Southern opinion and resigned from the Senate. Delegates to a state convention in South Carolina voted to secede from the union, and, on January 9, 1861, twenty days after South Carolina's secession, Mississippi seceded, then Florida on the 10th, and Alabama on the 11th. A week later, Georgia seceded.
On January 21, Mississippi's Jefferson Davis resigned his Senate seat. And on January 29, with fewer Southerners in Congress, Kansas was voted into the union as a free state.
On February 9 in Alabama's capital, Montgomery, representatives from the seceding states formed what they called a confederacy. They drew up a constitution but with greater emphasis on the autonomy of each state than existed in the US Constitution. On February 18 they inaugurated Jefferson Davis as the Confederacy's president. On February 23, Texas voters chose to join the Confederacy. Three days later Louisiana became the seventh state of the Confederacy.
Copyright © 2003-2015 by Frank E. Smitha. All rights reserved.