Monday, December 20, 2010

And So It Begins

Today marks the 150th anniversary of South Carolina's secession from the Union, and the escalating events that led to America's greatest tragedy, the Civil War. In 1860, the governor of South Carolina recommended that, if Lincoln was elected, the only honorable thing to do would be to secede. So on December 17, which would have been 150 years ago last Friday, delegates to the South Carolina Convention met in Columbia. Because of a smallpox outbreak, the convention was adjourned until the 20th, and an Ordinance of Secession was passed within hours. The vote was 169 in favor to zero opposed.

The wife of one of South Carolina's senators, Mary Chesnut, was traveling home by train when she heard the news "...that Lincoln was elected and our fate sealed." She also wrote that "South Carolina had been ... rampant for years. She was the torment of herself and everybody else ... South Carolina had exasperated and heated themselves (sic) into a fever that only a bloodletting could ever cure." Judge Pettigru, who was possibly the only Unionist in the state, remarked that "South Carolina is too small for a republic but too big for an insane asylum."

It wouldn't be long before several other southern states joined South Carolina in the cause. From here on out, I will be documenting these events as they occurred over the course of a four-year span. Hope you enjoy!

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