Secession Winter: Part Two
Representatives from seven cotton growing states (the Deep South) met in Montgomery, Alabama on February 7, 1861. There, they wrote a constitution and formed a new government for, The Confederate States of America. The Congress of this new government selected Jefferson Davis of Mississippi as their president and Alexander Stephens of Georgia as their vice-president.
It is interesting to note that both of these men had been Unionists following the election of Lincoln. They argued that the best course for their respective states and the entire slave South was to give Lincoln a chance before deciding whether or not to leave the Union. Besides, as Stephens argued, by the next presidential election, the split in the Democrat’s party would heal and Lincoln would be defeated. A united Democratic Party would ensure that Lincoln would be a one term president.
The Boarder States of the Upper South, Virginia, Maryland, Tennessee, North Carolina and Kentucky along with Arkansas and Missouri were slave states, too. But leaders in each of those states chose not to join the Confederate States of America. They chose to remain in the Union and see how Lincoln’s government would handle the secession situation and how his administration would govern.
In Washington City, government leaders seemed to take a wait and see stance, too. Between December 20, 1860 when the South Carolina Secession Convention voted to leave the Union and the Lincoln inauguration of March 6, 1861, President Buchanan chose not to confront the seceding states. He feared angering leaders in the loyal Boarder States and thus pushing them into secession.
Once in office, President Lincoln chose the same course for basically the same reason
Meanwhile, during the Secession Winter, two serious efforts were made in Washington City to lure the states of the Deep South back into the Union and to calm the fears of people living in the Boarder States.