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HIST211: Introduction to United States History - Colonial Period to Reconstruction

Unit 9: Secession   *In 1860, it was by no means clear that the South would secede or that civil war would be unleashed between two rival sections of the same nation. Instead, most Americans, though wearied by a decade of sectional disputes, were still in favor of preserving the federal union. But following Abraham Lincoln’s election to the presidency, the skirmish at Fort Sumter, and Lincoln’s order of federal troops into the Southern states, Southern states began to secede from the union.

In this unit, you will study the four-way political contest of the presidential election of 1860 between Northern Democrats, Southern Democrats, the Republicans, and the Constitutional Unionists. Because Abraham Lincoln, the winner of that contest, was elected without the support of a single Southern state, some Southerners felt alienated from their own country, which led to the establishment of the Confederate States of America.*

Unit 9 Time Advisory
Completing this unit should take approximately 5 hours.

☐    Subunit 9.1: 1.5 hours

☐    Subunit 9.2: 3.5 hours

Unit9 Learning Outcomes
Upon successful completion of this unit, you will be able to: - explain the causes of the secession of the South; - assess the impact of the secession of the South; and - analyze and interpret primary source documents from the era, using historical research methods.

9.1 The Election of 1860   - Lecture: YouTube: Open Yale Courses: David Blight’s HIST119: The Civil War and Reconstruction Era: “Lecture 10: The Election of 1860 and the Secession Crisis” Link: YouTube: Open Yale Courses: David Blight’s HIST119: The Civil War and Reconstruction Era: “Lecture 10: The Election of 1860 and the Secession Crisis” (YouTube)

 Also available in:  
 [HTML, Flash, MP3, or
QuickTime](http://oyc.yale.edu/history/hist-119/lecture-10)  

 Instructions: Watch this lecture to get a sense of the presidential
election of 1860, a four-way contest, and its immediate aftermath,
including the Deep South’s decision to secede from the federal union
after Abraham Lincoln was elected to the presidency.  

 Watching this lecture and pausing to take notes should take
approximately 1 hour.  

 Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use
displayed on the webpage above.
  • Web Media: University of California: UC College Prep’s U.S. History: “Lesson 35: Secession – The Election of 1860” Link: University of California College Prep’s U.S. History: “Lesson 35: Secession – The Election of 1860” (Flash)

    Instructions: Click on the link above, click the “Start Lesson” button, and view the presentation for the first topic, “The Election of 1860.” Click on the “Text” tab and read all of the pages. Then, click on the link “President Abraham Lincoln” under “Explore” and read the accompanying text.
     
    This resource will provide a good overview of the Democratic Party, the Republican Party, the Constitutional Union Party, and the presidential election of 1860.

    Watching this presentation and reading the accompanying text should take approximately 30 minutes.

    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

9.2 The South Secedes   9.2.1 Secession   - Reading: Shotgun’s Home of the American Civil War: “The Confederate States of America” and “The Secession of the Southern States” Link: Shotgun’s Home of the American Civil War: “The Confederate States of America” (HTML) and “The Secession of the Southern States” (HTML)

 Instructions: Read these articles, which discuss the causes of
secession and the establishment of the Confederate government in
Richmond, Virginia, in 1861. While South Carolina was the first
Southern state to secede from the Union, 10 additional states soon
followed. Secessionists argued that the U.S. Constitution was a
contract among states that could be abandoned at any time without
consultation and that each state had a right to secede. On the other
hand, the Union rejected secession as illegal.  In your opinion,
which position had more merit? Why?  

 Reading these articles and answering the questions above should
take approximately 30 minutes.  

 Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use
displayed on the webpage above.
  • Reading: Yale Law School, Lillian Goldman Law Library’s Avalon Project: “Confederate States of America: Declaration of the Immediate Causes Which Induce and Justify the Secession of South Carolina from the Federal Union” Link: Yale Law School, Lillian Goldman Law Library’s Avalon Project: “Confederate States of America: Declaration of the Immediate Causes Which Induce and Justify the Secession of South Carolina from the Federal Union” (HTML)

    Also available in:
    eText format for Google Books

    Instructions: Read this webpage.  In this Declaration, the people of South Carolina assert their legitimate claim to independence from the federal union.  Just as the colonies seceded from Britain because of relentless oppression and tyranny in 1776, so too does South Carolina secede from an oppressive and tyrannical federal government in 1860.

    Reading this declaration and taking notes should take approximately 30 minutes.

    Terms of Use: This resource is in the public domain.

9.2.2 Compromises   - Reading: Yale Law School, Lillian Goldman Law Library’s Avalon Project: “Amendments Proposed by the Peace Conference, February 8–27, 1861” Link: Yale Law School, Lillian Goldman Law Library’s Avalon Project: “Amendments Proposed by the Peace Conference, February 8–27, 1861” (HTML)

 Instructions: Read this webpage to learn about the last ditch
efforts at compromise between the North and the South.  These
proposals, of course, ultimately failed to resolve the crisis.  Why
do you think this was the case?  

 Reading these proposals and answering the question above should
take approximately 15 minutes.  

 Terms of Use: This resource is in the public domain.

9.2.3 Fort Sumter   - Lecture: YouTube: Open Yale Courses: David Blight’s HIST119: The Civil War and Reconstruction Era: “Lecture 12: ‘And the War Came,’ 1861: The Sumter Crisis, Comparative Strategies” Link: YouTube: Open Yale Courses: David Blight’s HIST119: The Civil War and Reconstruction Era: “Lecture 12: ‘And the War Came,’ 1861: The Sumter Crisis, Comparative Strategies” (YouTube)

 Also available in:  
 [HTML, Flash, MP3, or
QuickTime](http://oyc.yale.edu/history/hist-119/lecture-12)  

 Instructions: Watch this lecture to get a sense of the crisis that
erupted at Fort Sumter in 1861. Professor Blight considers how the
Sumter Crisis prompted four other Southern states – Virginia, North
Carolina, Tennessee, and Arkansas – to secede.  

 Watching this lecture and pausing to take notes should take
approximately 1 hour.  

 Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use
displayed on the webpage above.
  • Reading: University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill's Learn NC: United States Army Center of Military History’s “North and South in 1861” Link: University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill's Learn NC: United States Army Center of Military History’s “North and South in 1861” (HTML)

    Instructions: Read this webpage, which provides an overview of the resources (railroads, factories, farms) of the North and South and discusses the war strategies of the two sides.

    Reading this article and taking notes should take approximately 15 minutes.

    Terms of Use: This resource is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.5 Generic License.

  • Reading: Connexions: Jack E. Maxfield’s “Europe: A.D. 1801-1900” Link: Connexions: Jack E. Maxfield’s “Europe: A.D. 1801-1900” (HTML)

    Instructions: Read this webpage, which summarizes the major developments in Europe in the 19th century. Please note that in the mid-19th century, Europe, like the United States, was experiencing industrialization and other effects of the market revolution. Also, this region of the world, especially in Germany and Italy, witnessed uprisings and wars that were inspired by the new spirit of nationalism.

    Reading this webpage and taking notes should take approximately 1 hour.

    Terms of Use: This resource is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License.