February 4th – The Confederate States of America was formed

Map of the United States at the beginning of the American Civil War. Blue = Union, non-slaveholding states. Yellow = Union, slaveholding states. Dark Red = Confederate, states that seceded by February 1861. Bright Red = Confederate, states that seceded after attack on Fort Sumter.

Map of the United States at the beginning of the American Civil War. Blue = Union, non-slaveholding states. Yellow = Union, slaveholding states. Dark Red = Confederate, states that seceded by February 1861. Bright Red = Confederate, states that seceded after attack on Fort Sumter.

Sorry for the hiatus on blogging, I have been recently bogged down with some school work. On this day in 1861, the Confederate States of America was formed. The Confederate States of America initially constituted the seven Deep South states that seceded from the American Union following the election of Abraham Lincoln to the presidency in the November 1860 election. Almost two months after the formation of the Confederate States of America, the attack on Fort Sumter in Charleston Harbour would start the American Civil War between the United States of America and the Confederate States of America, the bloodiest war in American history, with over 600000 dead.

Tensions between the northern and southern sections of America over the issue of slavery had existed since America’s formation. It would be foolhardy, even impossible, to attempt to discuss the history of slavery from Colonial America to Antebellum America in a single blog post, therefore I shall only write about the immediate events preceding the Confederate States of America’s formation. The election of 1860 featured four major candidates for president, as the Democratic Party fractured into northern and southern wings over the issue of slavery: Abraham Lincoln of Illinois for the Republican Party, John C. Breckinridge of Kentucky for the Southern Democratic Party, John Bell of Tennessee for the Constitutional Union Party, and Stephen Douglas of Illinois for the (Northern) Democratic Party. Lincoln won the election, however his victory came with little support from the Southern states. In fact, given Lincoln’s general unpopularity in the South, in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Tennessee and Texas, Lincoln did not even make it on the ballot. Fearful that the election of a Republican president, along with concurrent Republican control of both houses of Congress, would serve to eradicate Slave Power in the country, Southern states began seceding from the Union. By February 1st, 1861, seven Deep South states had left the Union, forming independent republics in the following order: 1.) South Carolina, 2.) Mississippi, 3.) Florida, 4.) Alabama, 5.) Georgia, 6.) Louisiana, and 7.) Texas.

On February 4th, 1861, representatives from the seceding states met in Montgomery, Alabama in the State Capitol. There, a provisional Confederate government was formed, with a Confederate Congress founded, and Montgomery made the capital of the Confederacy. After the attack on Fort Sumter in April, four other slave states joined the Confederacy: Virginia, Arkansas, Tennessee, and North Carolina. Slave-holding Missouri, Kentucky, Maryland, and Delaware stayed loyal to the Union, however sent soldiers to fight on both sides of the Civil War. The Confederate States of America would remain unrecognized as a country throughout the American Civil War, and ceased to exist following the surrender of the Army of Northern Virginia by General Robert E. Lee at Appomattox Court House on April 9th, 1865.

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