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Chapter 15 Secession and the Civil War 1861-1865.

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1 Chapter 15 Secession and the Civil War

2 Abraham Lincoln – elected to the White House in 1860 – 6’4” tall, but seemed taller with his long legs and habit of wearing a high silk “stovepipe” hat – born to poor and illiterate parents – had a few months of formal schooling, but mostly educated himself

3 – worked as a surveyor, shopkeeper, local postmaster, and merchant – found a path to success in law and politics studied law on his own and managed to get elected to the state legislature – leader of the Whig party in Illinois – after one term in Congress, did not seek re-election had a strong stand against the Mexican- American War that alienated much of his constituency

4 – campaigned vigorously for President Zachary Taylor who failed to give him a patronage job – concentrated instead on building his law practice – had long believed slavery was an unjust institution that should be tolerated only to the extent the Constitution and long-standing tradition of sectional compromise required – attacked Douglas’s plan of popular sovereignty claimed it broke with federal precedents for containment or control of the growth of slavery

5 – found favor with the Republicans who appointed him to run for president in 1860 his election would provoke southern secession – had less experience relevant to a wartime president than any previous chief executive had never been a governor, senator, cabinet officer, vice- president, or high-ranking military office – he identified wholeheartedly with the northern cause and could inspire others to make sacrifices for it

6 – Civil War put the very principle of democracy on trial – showed the shortcomings of a purely white man’s democracy and brought the first hesitant steps toward black citizenship – it was the struggle to preserve and extend the democratic ideal

7 The Storm Gathers Lincoln’s election provoked the secession of seven states of the Deep South did not lead immediately to armed conflict two things had to happen: – 1.) final effort to defuse the conflict through compromise and conciliation had to fail – 2.) North needed to develop a firm resolve to maintain the Union by force was not clear until Fort Sumter that the sectional crisis would have to be resolved on the battlefield

8 The Deep South Secedes South Carolina – was the frontrunner of southern rights and proslavery agitation and the first state to secede constitutional theory behind secession: – the Union was a “compact” among sovereign states, each of which could withdraw from the Union by the vote of a convention similar to the one that had ratified the Constitution in the first place

9 “cooperationists” – believed the slave states should act as a unit – but, South Carolina’s unilateral action set a precedent that weakened their cause by February 1, 1861 seven states had left the Union – South Carolina, Alabama, Mississippi, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, and Texas calls for immediate secession in the Upper South were unsuccessful – leaders in the border slave states were more willing than those in the lower South to seek a sectional compromise

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11 delegates from the Deep South met in Montgomery, Alabama (the temporary capital) on February 4 to establish the Confederate States of America – acted as a provisional government and drafted a permanent constitution moderate leaders dominated the proceedings and defeated or modified some of the schemes of the radical faction of extreme southern nationalists – voted down proposals to reopen the Atlantic slave trade, to abolish the 3/5 clause, and to prohibit the admission of free states to the new Confederacy

12 the Confederate constitution was surprisingly similar to the U.S. Constitution showed traditional southern interpretations: – central government was denied the authority to impose protective tariffs, subsidize internal improvements, or interfere with slavery in the states – was required to pass laws protecting slavery in the territories provisional president: Jefferson Davis (Mississippi) vice-president: Alexander Stephens (Georgia) – men who had resisted secessionist agitation Vice-President Alexander Stephens President Jefferson Davis

13 moderation showed a desire to win support for the cause of secessionism in the reluctant states of the upper South – radical measures like reopening the slave trade were unpopular there most Southerners had been opposed to dissolving the Union and repudiating their patriotic loyalty so long as there had been good reasons to believe slavery was safe from northern interference – Lincoln’s election caused Southerners to fear that Northerners would no longer keep their “hands off” southern slavery

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15 the goal of the new converts to secessionism was not to establish a slaveholder’s utopia but to re-create the Union as it had been before the rise of the new Republican party – opted for secession only when it was clear that separation was the only way to achieve this goal only justification for southern independence on which a majority could agree was the need for greater security for the “peculiar institution”

16 “the great truth that the negro is not equal to the white man – that slavery – subordination to the superior race – is his natural condition” Confederate Vice-President Alexander Stephens

17 The Failure of Compromise moderates in the North and border slave states were trying to find a compromise that would stop the secessionist tide before it could engulf the entire South Crittenden Proposal – plan that was the focus of discussion, organized by Senator John Crittenden of Kentucky – called to extend the protection of slavery in the southwestern territories and in any territory south of the line that might be acquired – recommended federal compensation to the owners of escaped slaves – constitutional amendment that would prohibit the federal government from abolishing or regulating slavery in the states

18 William Seward of New York leaned toward supporting a version of the Crittenden Plan Republicans in Congress turned for guidance to the president-elect Lincoln refused to make public statements on the secession crisis, but was opposed to the extension of the compromise line his resounding no stiffened the backbone of congressional Republicans who voted against compromise in committee

19 seceding states vowed in advance to support no compromise unless the majority of Republicans also endorsed it – wanted to obtain guarantees that the northern sectional party would end its attacks on “southern rights” Republicans did agree to support Crittenden’s “un- amendable” amendment guaranteeing slavery would be immune from future federal action – Republicans had always acknowledged that the federal government had no constitutional authority to meddle with slavery in the states

20 some blame Lincoln and the Republicans for causing an unnecessary war be rejecting a compromise that would have appeased southern pride without providing any immediate practical opportunities for the expansion of slavery the South may have been satisfied with nothing less than federal protection of slavery in all territories and the active suppression of anti-slavery agitation in the North

21 was a mistaken northern notion that the secession movement was a conspiracy that reflected the will of only a minority of white Southerners Lincoln and the Free-Soilers believed that extending the Missouri Compromise line would not halt agitation for extending slavery to new areas only way to resolve the crisis and to reunite “the house divided” was to remove any chance that slaveholders could enlarge their domain – Lincoln was convinced that backing down in the face of secessionist threats would undermine the democratic principle of majority rule

22 And the War Came by Lincoln’s inauguration, seven states had seceded, formed an independent confederacy, and seized most federal forts and other installations in the Deep South without firing a shot James Buchanan (the President before Lincoln) had denied the right of secession and refused to use “coercion” to maintain federal authority Star of the West – sent to reinforce the federal garrison in Charleston Harbor, but turned back after being fired on some opposed coercive action because they thought the nation might be better off if “the erring sisters” (the Deep South) were allowed “to depart in peace”

23 when the northern business community realized conciliation would not keep the cotton states in the Union, they put their weight behind coercive measures a temporary disruption of commerce was better than the permanent loss of the South as a market and source of raw materials

24 Lincoln called for a cautious and limited use of force – defend federal forts and installations not yet in Confederate hands would not attempt to recapture the ones already taken only four were still held by U.S. forces – two in the Florida Keys, Fort Pickens in northern Florida, and Fort Sumter in Charleston Harbor

25 the Confederacy was demanding the surrender of Sumter the garrison was within reach of shore batteries and running low on supplies – could not hold out much longer and Lincoln had to decide whether to reinforce it or let it fall

26 April 4, 1861 – Lincoln ordered an expedition be prepared to bring food and other provisions to the troops in Charleston Harbor – his orders to reinforce Fort Pickens in Florida had not been carried out sent word to the governor of South Carolina that the relief expedition was being sent Confederate authorities decided that sending provisions was a hostile act and attacked the fort

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28 April 12, 1861 – morning that shore batteries opened fire – bombardment continued for forty hours with no loss of life, but with heavy damage to the walls of the fort

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30 April 13, 1861 – Union forces under Major Robert Anderson surrendered – Confederate flag was raised over Fort Sumter South had won a victory but had also assumed responsibility for firing the first shot – Lincoln knew that if the South was determined to fight for its independence, they would have to start by taking aggressive action

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32 April 15, 1861 – Lincoln proclaimed that an insurrection against federal authority existed in the Deep South – called on the militia of the loyal states to provide 75,000 troops Virginia then joined the Confederacy, followed by Arkansas, Tennessee, and North Carolina – slave states of the Upper South had been unwilling to secede just because Lincoln was elected, but now that they had been called on to provide troops to “coerce” other southern sates, they had to choose sides

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34 by firing on the flag, the Confederacy united the North Confederates moved their capital from Montgomery to Richmond, Virginia

35 contained only eleven of the fifteen states where slavery was lawful border slave states of Maryland, Delaware, Kentucky, and Missouri were stopped through a combination of local Unionism and federal intervention – Kentucky – proclaimed its neutrality and eventually sided with the Union Lincoln who as careful to honor the neutrality, provoked the South into violating neutrality first by sending regular troops into the state – Maryland – surrounded the nation’s capital and was kept in the Union through the use of martial law to suppress Confederate sympathizers – Missouri – endured the presence of regular troops and a pro-Union German immigrant population, who stymied the secession movement brutal guerrilla fighting made wartime Missouri an unsafe and bloody place

36 General Robert E. Lee – neither a defender of slavery nor a southern nationalist – he followed Virginia out of the Union because he was the loyal son of a “sovereign state” General George Thomas – also from Virginia, chose the Union, believed the Union was indissoluble the two opposing sides would initially define the war less as a struggle over slavery than as a contest to determine whether the Union was indivisible


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