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Essay Question: "Southerners maintained that secession was the ultimate expression of democracy, while Lincoln claimed it was rejection of democracy. How
did they explain and justify their principles."
On December 20, 1860, the Confederacy was born when South Carolina
seceded from the federal Union. The Union and the Confederacy severely clashed in
their views on the Constitution; the South felt that individual states should have the right
to nullify laws, while Abraham Lincoln believed the federal government should appoint
representatives for individual states. The South and Abraham Lincoln contrasted
sharply on the idea of secession because the Constitution was ambiguous regarding
Immediately following the election of Lincoln, the southern secessionists wanted
to separate from the Union. Southerners feared that the Republican victory in 1860
would "interfere in their domestic concerns–particularly their right to property and slaves
as guaranteed by the fifth amendment of the Bill of Rights" (Jones 24). As a result, the
state of South Carolina held a convention andvoted to secede from the Union.
Following South Carolina's lead, Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana and
Texas also seceded. "Their growing minority status had left them vulnerable to northern
oppression; their right to withdraw from the governing pact remained a fundamental
precept of the Declaration of Independence" (24). Representatives from each state
convened on February 1860, to create the Confederate States of America. Although
this document was roughly based on the Constitution, it assigned limits on the
government's power to impose tariffs and restrictions on slavery. The southerners felt
that they needed to create a new constitution because "the preamble to the Constitution
. . . does not propose to make the old Union more perfect, but to'for…

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