The Last Prelude to the American Civil War

Annie69 By Annie69, 25th Sep 2015 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Writing>History

What caused the Civil War and when did it start? Good questions to be sure, but there are probably as many answers as there are historians. These dates and events, however, are probably on everyone's "last straw" list.

November 6, 1860

There was friction between the North and South even as the Constitution was written and our founding fathers started not just a new nation, but a new kind of nation. For seventy-two years, government officials and the people discussed, compromised, and fought small battles without any permanent solution.

While there had always been talk of secession from Northern and Southern states alike, it wasn't until the election of 1860 that the South feared they would lose their states' rights and, therefore, their livelihoods if Abraham Lincoln was elected.

On November 6, 1860, Lincoln was elected the 16th President of the United States.

December 20, 1860

South Carolina's legislature was in session when Lincoln was elected President. The Stars and Stripes was taken down and replaced by the state flag and a state convention was called. On December 20, just six weeks after the election, South Carolina voted to secede from the Union.

By February 1, 1861, six more states had followed South Carolina and left the Union.

February 8 1861

"United we stand, divided we fall."

Delegates from all seven states met in Montgomery, Alabama, on February 8, 1861, and another new nation was born, the Confederate States of America. Their constitution was similar to the Union's, but it gave more rights to the states and less to the federal government.

March 4, 1861

On March 4, 1861, Lincoln was sworn in as President. He had said in his “house divided” speech in 1858 that he didn’t expect the Union to be dissolved, but he did expect it would cease to be divided. In his inaugural address he refused to acknowledge the Confederacy. He did, however, promise "not to invade any state on any pretext."

April 12, 1861

Fort Sumter was held by Union troops and, despite his promise, President Lincoln sent additional troops and fresh supplies. Southern forces were able to keep the ship from reaching shore. Meanwhile, the troops already inside Fort Sumter were ordered to evacuate and safe conduct out of the Confederacy was promised. The Union refused. The South asked twice more before opening fire on Fort Sumter on the morning of April 12, 1861.

The first shots of the Civil War had been fired.


Confederacy, Election Of 1860, Fort Sumter, President Lincoln, South Carolina

Meet the author

author avatar Annie69
History column appears weekly in local newspaper. Also news, human interest, and pictures. My fiction and poems have appeared in literary anthologies and I've written 3 novels

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author avatar Fern Mc Costigan
26th Sep 2015 (#)

One of the most interesting parts of our history for me the Civil war, great post and very informative.

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author avatar Annie69
26th Sep 2015 (#)

Thanks for the kind words. The first four years of my column was on the Civil War. As many friends will tell you, I know lots of useless facts about those years.

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