The Confederate Constitutions

By Charles Robert Lee Jr. | Go to book overview

CHAPTER I

The Calling of the Montgomery
Convention

The people of South Carolina have invited the people of Alabama to meet them in Convention ... this Convention accepted that invitation; and adopting the suggestion of the Commissioner from South Carolina, we invited ... the other Southern States, to meet us ... in this city, on the 4th of February, 1861....

William Lowndes Yancey

Ninety days after Abraham Lincoln was elected President of the United States, delegates from six seceded states of the lower South met at Montgomery, Alabama, to establish a Southern Confederacy. Between November 6, 1860, and February 4, 1861, South Carolina seceded and presented a general secession program, inter-state commissioners were dispatched to the fifteen slave states, the rest of the lower South seceded, and Alabama issued an invitation for a meeting at Montgomery. During these tense and fateful days, the Montgomery Convention developed from a plan into a reality.

Most historians today accept the statement that "Abraham Lincoln's election to the presidency in 1860 ... precipitated the secession movement." 1. Southern reaction to the November returns was immediate and, in many instances, personal. The feelings of a large part of the Southern people were succinctly expressed by an editorial in the New Orleans Crescent. It said, in part: "There is a universal feeling that an insult has been deliberately tendered our people, which is responded to ... [by] a settled determination that the South should never be oppressed under Lincoln's administration." 2.

____________________
1.
Ellis Merton Coulter, The Confederate States of America, 1861-1865 (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1950), p. 1.
2.
Dwight Lowell Dumond, ed., Southern Editorials on Secession ( New York: The Century Company, 1931), pp. xvi-xvii.

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