U.S. History 1492-1877 10: The South Secedes
Buckle up. We're about to witness the biggest break up in U.S. history. And here we thought Ross and Rachel was bad...
|Social Studies||U.S. History|
"And that they want to impose their will over our mutual friends, the territories."
"And now, you've elected a President who wants to cut off our
influence on the territories, making us isolated and weak."
"It's not us, it's you. We need to call it off."
"Oh, also y'all talk funny…bye bye."
And just like that, the South started to secede, or leave the Union.
The first state to peace out, or war out, was South Carolina, on December 20, 1860.
That was after Lincoln was elected, but before he was sworn into office.
The possibility of a Free Soil president was so freaky that
South Carolina decided to leave the Union before he'd even had a day in office.
A bunch of other states followed South Carolina's lead.
Georgia, Alabama, Florida, and Mississippi had all joined South Carolina
by the time Lincoln's butt hit the Oval Office desk chair.
What a bummer. We hope he at least had a chair that spins.
Other southern states stayed, hoping that Lincoln would back down on his Free Soil campaign promises.
But he didn't.
Lincoln's policies led to the secession of the rest of the South.
On February 8, these states made their own government, called by the original name of the Confederate States of America.
In April 1861, Virginia seceded and became the seat of power for the Confederacy.
Seat of power? That sounds cooler than a spinny chair.
Unfortunately for the South, the amount of power they had was suspect.
On paper, they looked weaker than gas station coffee.
The Confederacy had a much smaller population than the North, less tax revenue,
less infrastructure, and almost no manufacturing capability.
So why in the world would they think they could win a war against the North?
Because the South did have one major resource up its sleeve: army officers.
Highly skilled southern generals like Robert E. Lee were a serious threat, kinda Luke Skywalkery,
and the South ran circles around bumbling northern generals in the early parts of the war.
But it wasn't just southern military leadership that was a problem for the North.
A century of paranoia about slave revolts had led to massive, trained militia units and army garrisons in the South.
So even though the South started the war with a lot of handicaps,
their military, much like the Sharknado, was terrifying to behold.