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Civil War – Secession of Confederate States

Civil War – Secession – Slavery

Information and Questions


Confederate States’ Secession Information
Alphabetical Date Seceded
1 Alabama 1 South Carolina 1860 Dec 20
2 Arkansas 2 Mississippi 1861 Jan 9
3 Florida 3 Florida 1861 Jan 9
4 Georgia 4 Alabama 1861 Jan 12
5 Louisiana 5 Georgia 1861 Jan 19
6 Mississippi 6 Louisiana 1861 Jan 26
7 North Carolina 7 Texas 1861 Feb 1
8 South Carolina 8 Virginia 1861 Apr 17
9 Tennessee 9 Arkansas 1861 May 6
10 Texas 10 Tennessee 1861 May 7
11 Virginia 11 North Carolina 1861 May 20
12 (Kentucky) 12 (Kentucky) 1861 Dec 10 (CSA Congress law admitted Kentucky to C.S.A.)
13 (Missouri) 13 (Missouri) 1861 Aug 1861 (CSA Congress law authorized admission of  Missouri to C.S.A.)


Was Secession “legal” and “justified”?

1. If secession of a State from the United States was meant to be permitted by the Founders, why does the U.S. Constitution contain so many details about the procedures for States to join the United States, but not a word about procedures to leave it?

2. If each State should have the right to secede, why didn’t those who wrote and adopted the Constitution of the Confederate States of America specifically include this in their new Constitution?  Other “problems” of the old U.S. Constitution, such as the failure to specifically mention slavery, were fixed, so why not this one?

3. If people should have the right to break away from any government when they feel that is necessary (as the Confederate States said justified their action), why didn’t the Confederate States of America permit eastern Tennessee, for example, to secede from the C.S.A., since the people there did not want to belong to the C.S.A.?

4. If a State could secede when its fundamental institutions were threatened, what actual threats were posed to the southern States’ institutions by the election of Abraham Lincoln, who repeatedly said that he would not interfere with the institution of slavery in the States where it existed, and supported a Constitutional amendment to insure that? If there were no actual threats, other than the fact that slavery would not be permitted to expand into new territory — but it would continue just as before in the States where it existed, what was the justification for any States to secede?

5. Let’s assume, for the purpose of discussion, that the Southern people were oppressed by the government of the United States and thus had the right to secede and form their own government, even using violence. Let’s assume that they had this right because the North did not allow the Southerners to live as they wanted and to have the dignity to which all men are entitled. Wasn’t there another group of people who were not permitted to live as they wanted and to have their dignity — the slaves (by definition, a slave is not permitted to do what he or she wants to do, or to have individual dignity and rights). If Southern people had the “right” to secede, and use violence to defend their rights as human beings, didn’t all slaves have the same right to defend their rights and dignity as human beings, even using violence? Would the Confederate States have agreed?

Was slavery the cause of the Civil War?

1. If slavery was not the cause of the Civil War (the cause of the Southern States seceding), why did the States that seceded say, in their declarations of the reasons for their secession from the United States, that they were doing so because they felt the institution of slavery was threatened? And why did leaders of the Confederacy say the same thing, over and over?

2. If slavery was not the cause of the Civil War, why did leaders of the Confederate States of America say, even toward the end of the war, that if slaves were allowed to become soldiers, that would negate the whole reason for secession from the United States and the existence of the C.S.A., and why was Maj. Gen. Patrick Cleburne castigated (and ordered not to discuss his idea) for even suggesting that the C.S.A. consider admitting slaves into the C.S.A. army? And why did Robert E. Lee’s men stop, on their way into Pennsylvania in 1863 on the way to the Battle of Gettysburg, to capture Blacks and take them into the South to be sold as slaves, thus harming their ability to concentrate on warfare, supposedly their main purpose?

3. If slavery was not the cause of the Civil War, and if the Southern States were fighting to preserve freedom for free men, why did the leaders of the Southern States adopt laws making it illegal to even speak about the possibility that slavery was not a good system (what about free speech), and making it illegal to send anything in the mails (to White people) that in any way talked about slavery not being a good system? And why did the Southern States’ leaders push (successfully) for a rule in the U.S. Congress prohibiting petitions opposing slavery to even be received, let alone discussed? Were these examples of support for freedom, or do they show that slavery (the disagreement about whether it was basically good or bad) was indeed the very core of the reason for secession and the Civil War?

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