Paid Advertisement
Historynet/feed historynet feedback facebook link World History Group RSS feed World History Group Subscriptions Historynet Home page

Who decided the southern states would secede?

Originally published under Ask Mr. History. Published Online: March 19, 2013 
Print Friendly
0 comments FONT +  FONT -

Who decided that the southern states would secede?


? ? ?

Dear BL,

It was the state legislatures, made up of state representatives elected by white slave owners, who determined their states' secessions in turn, starting with conventions that ratified a series of thirteen Ordinances of Secession, beginning with South Carolina on December 20, 1860. Actual secession did not reach a point of no return until the bombardment of Fort Sumter on April 12, 1861, but after that eleven states seceded, some (e.g., Virginia, North Carolina and Tennessee) not doing so until President Abraham Lincoln's call to mobilize 75,000 troops led to a perceived threat to the states themselves that drove many Southerners who had previously opposed secession (including Jefferson Davis, Robert E. Lee and Jubal A. Early) to commit to the cause. Even then, Virginia, Tennessee and Texas only adopted ordinances of secession after follow-up referendums. Kentucky and Missouri passed ordinances of secession, but ended up staying in the Union, although some Kentuckians who favored secession formed Confederate "orphan" units and similarly inclined Missourians fought in both formal regiments and "bushwhacker" guerrilla bands. Virginia's ordinance was rejected by 26 northern and western counties, which held two conventions in Wheeling in May and June that gave Richmond a taste of its own medicine by laying the foundation for a secession of their own—to form the Unionist state of West Virginia (See "Virginia's Great Divorce," America's Civil War magazine, May/June 2013).



Jon Guttman
Research Director
Weider History Group
More Questions at Ask Mr. History


Leave a Reply

Human Verification: In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.

Related Articles

History Net Images Spacer
Paid Advertisement
Paid Advertisement
History Net Daily Activities
History net Spacer
History net Spacer
Historynet Spacer

Which of these wars resulted in the most surprising underdog upset?

View Results | See previous polls

Loading ... Loading ...
History net Spacer
RSS Feed Daily Email Update
History net Spacer
Paid Advertisement

Paid Advertisement
What is HistoryNet? is brought to you by World History Group, the world's largest publisher of history magazines. contains daily features, photo galleries and over 5,000 articles originally published in our various magazines.

If you are interested in a specific history subject, try searching our archives, you are bound to find something to pique your interest.

From Our Magazines
World History Group

World History Group Network:  HistoryNet | Armchair General | Achtung Panzer!
Today in History | Ask Mr. History | Picture of the Day | Daily History Quiz | Contact Us

Copyright © 2015 World History Group. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited.
Advertise With Us | Subscription Help | Privacy Policy