The election of a Republican President, Abraham Lincoln in November 1860 dismayed the South. South Carolina seceded on December 20, 1860 (150 years ago today).

Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia and Louisiana all seceded in January, 1861; Texas on February 1, Virginia in April; and Arkansas, North Carolina and Tennessee in May and June. Kentucky and Missouri, sharply divided, were claimed by both sides. Maryland and Delaware remained in the union.

The convention in Montgomery adopted a provisional Constitution on Feb 8, and chose Jefferson Davis of Mississippi as President and Alexander Stephens as Vice President. The Confederate States of America was thus born before Lincoln took office as President of the United States in March. 

The Confederacy moved its capital to Richmond in June. I read in our files the following: Lincoln resisted pressure by abolitionists; national union was his chief objective and the freeing of slaves was secondary. Moreover, emancipation awaited a Union military success, so as not to seem an act of desperation. Following a Union victory at Antietam, Maryland, Lincoln’s preliminary Emancipation Proclamation was issued on September 22, 1862, and the final proclamation was made official on January 1, 1863. Although it applied only to the 4 million slaves of areas “in rebellion” the act widened the war into a crusade against slavery.

Tomorrow – The end of the Civil War and the Assassination of President Lincoln.