Ordinance of Secession

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Ordinance of Secession
Ordinance of Secession Milledgeville, Georgia 1861.png
Facsimile of the 1861 Ordinance of Secession signed by 293 delegates to the Georgia Secession Convention at the statehouse in Milledgeville, Georgia January 21, 1861
Createdc. January 20, 1861
Ratified Ratified January 19, 1861
vote was 208 yeas 89 nays
Signed January 21, 1861
by 293 delegates
Enacted January 22, 1861
LocationEngrossed copy: University of Georgia Libraries, Hargrett Library
Author(s) George W. Crawford et al.
Engrosser: H. J. G. Williams
Signatories293 delegates to The Georgia Secession Convention of 1861
PurposeTo announce Georgia's formal intent to secede from the Union.

An Ordinance of Secession is the name given to multiple resolutions [1] [2] drafted and ratified in 1860 and 1861, at the beginning of the Civil War, by which each seceding Southern state or territory formally declared secession from the United States of America. South Carolina, Mississippi, Georgia, and Texas also issued separate documents explaining their reasons for secession.

American Civil War Civil war in the United States from 1861 to 1865

The American Civil War was a civil war fought in the United States from 1861 to 1865, between the North and the South. The most studied and written about episode in U.S. history, the Civil War began primarily as a result of the long-standing controversy over the enslavement of black people. War broke out in April 1861 when secessionist forces attacked Fort Sumter in South Carolina shortly after Abraham Lincoln had been inaugurated as the President of the United States. The loyalists of the Union in the North proclaimed support for the Constitution. They faced secessionists of the Confederate States in the South, who advocated for states' rights to uphold slavery.

Secession is the withdrawal of a group from a larger entity, especially a political entity, but also from any organization, union or military alliance. Threats of secession can be a strategy for achieving more limited goals. It is, therefore, a process, which commences once a group proclaims the act of secession. It could involve a violent or peaceful process but these do not change the nature of the outcome, which is the creation of a new state or entity independent from the group or territory it seceded from.

United States Federal republic in North America

The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States or America, is a country comprising 50 states, a federal district, five major self-governing territories, and various possessions. At 3.8 million square miles, the United States is the world's third or fourth largest country by total area and is slightly smaller than the entire continent of Europe's 3.9 million square miles. With a population of over 327 million people, the U.S. is the third most populous country. The capital is Washington, D.C., and the largest city by population is New York City. Forty-eight states and the capital's federal district are contiguous in North America between Canada and Mexico. The State of Alaska is in the northwest corner of North America, bordered by Canada to the east and across the Bering Strait from Russia to the west. The State of Hawaii is an archipelago in the mid-Pacific Ocean. The U.S. territories are scattered about the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, stretching across nine official time zones. The extremely diverse geography, climate, and wildlife of the United States make it one of the world's 17 megadiverse countries.


Thirteen states and one territory ratified an ordinance of secession, typically by means of a special convention or by referendum. Of these, only 11 states and one territory [3] authoritatively made secession effective by a regular means, ultimately driven by state government reliably backed by public opinion and military force. The other two states seceded ineffectively or only by an irregular means, and hence remained within the Union.

In politics, a political convention may refer to a meeting of a political party, typically to select party candidates. The term may also refer to international bilateral or multilateral meetings on state-level, like the convention of the Anglo-Russian Entente (1907).

A referendum is a direct vote in which an entire electorate is invited to vote on a particular proposal. This may result in the adoption of a new law. In some countries, it is synonymous with a plebiscite or a vote on a ballot question.

Confederate Arizona organized incorporated Confederate territory in present day southern New Mexico and Arizona

Confederate Arizona, commonly referred to as Arizona Territory, and officially the Territory of Arizona, was a territory claimed by the Confederate States of America during the American Civil War, between 1861 and 1865. Delegates to secession conventions had voted in March 1861 to secede from the New Mexico Territory and the United States, and seek to join the Confederacy. It consisted of the portion of the New Mexico Territory south of the 34th parallel, including parts of the modern states of New Mexico and Arizona. Its capital was Mesilla along the southern border. The Confederate territory overlapped the Arizona Territory later established by the Union government in 1863.

The first seven seceding states, all of the Deep South, were motivated mainly by two factors: the election in November 1860 of Abraham Lincoln, who had no support in the South, and the perceived direct threat to slavery his election posed.

1860 United States presidential election election between Abraham Lincoln, John C. Breckinridge, John Bell and Stephen A. Douglas

The 1860 United States presidential election was the nineteenth quadrennial presidential election to select the President and Vice President of the United States. The election was held on Tuesday, November 6, 1860. In a four-way contest, the Republican Party ticket of Abraham Lincoln and Hannibal Hamlin emerged triumphant. The election of Lincoln served as the primary catalyst of the American Civil War.

Abraham Lincoln 16th president of the United States

Abraham Lincoln was an American statesman, politician, and lawyer who served as the 16th president of the United States from 1861 until his assassination in April 1865. Lincoln led the nation through the American Civil War, its bloodiest war and its greatest moral, constitutional, and political crisis. He preserved the Union, abolished slavery, strengthened the federal government, and modernized the U.S. economy.

The next four states to secede also were motivated by the same two factors, but a third and decisive factor was the Federal policy of coercion, or using military force to preserve the Union by compelling the earlier seceding states to submit.

In the remaining two states, attempted secession was belated and severely disrupted. In Missouri, the state government called a convention, but its members disfavored secession. Federal military intervention quickly restored Union control, first in St. Louis, then throughout nearly the whole state. Its ordinance of secession eventually was passed only by a rump convention meeting at Neosho. In Kentucky, whose potential secession Unionists particularly feared, [4] both the legislature and public opinion firmly opposed secession. Only an even less influential rump convention purported to secede. When Confederate armies invaded Kentucky in 1862, briefly seizing the state capital and installing an ephemeral state government, they found local recruitment weak and popular support conspicuously lacking, despite bringing extra arms to equip new volunteers. This unexpected discovery helped defeat the campaign as the Confederate generals felt they lacked the strength of numbers to confront the larger Union forces that eventually maneuvered to oppose them. Despite Missouri and Kentucky thus remaining within the Union, thousands from both states embraced secession by choosing to fight for the Confederacy.

During the American Civil War, the secession of Missouri was controversial because of the disputed status of the state of Missouri. During the war, Missouri was claimed by both the Union and the Confederacy, had two competing state governments, and sent representatives to both the United States Congress and the Confederate Congress. This unusual situation, which also existed to some degree in the states of Kentucky and Virginia, was the result of events in early 1861.

Nathaniel Lyon first Union general to be killed in the American Civil War

Nathaniel Lyon was the first Union general to be killed in the American Civil War and is noted for his actions in the state of Missouri at the beginning of the conflict.

Camp Jackson affair

The Camp Jackson affair, also known as the Camp Jackson massacre, was an incident during the American Civil War that occurred on May 10, 1861, when a volunteer Union Army regiment captured a unit of secessionists at Camp Jackson, outside the city of St. Louis, in the divided slave state of Missouri.

Though generally accepted only to have comprised 11 seceding states, these 13 states and one territory formed, by its own contemporary definition as shown by 13 stars in its official and battle flags, the Confederate States of America.

Confederate States of America (de facto) federal republic in North America from 1861 to 1865

The Confederate States of America, commonly referred to as the Confederacy, was an unrecognized country in North America that existed from 1861 to 1865. The Confederacy was originally formed by seven secessionist slave-holding states—South Carolina, Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, and Texas—in the Lower South region of the United States, whose economy was heavily dependent upon agriculture, particularly cotton, and a plantation system that relied upon the labor of African-American slaves.

Elsewhere, overwhelming Union military intervention and mass arrests of elected lawmakers blocked the secessionist Maryland legislature even from considering the question. The Delaware legislature did, quickly and overwhelmingly rejecting secession. The unorganized Indian Territory did not document secession and was not unanimous in its orientation, but generally supported the Confederacy.

Maryland in the American Civil War The states participation as a Union slave state; a border state

During the American Civil War (1861-1865), Maryland, a slave state, was one of the border states, straddling the South and North. Because of its strategic location, bordering the national capital city of Washington D.C. with its District of Columbia since 1790, and the strong desire of the opposing factions within the state to sway public opinion towards their respective causes, Maryland played an important role in the American Civil War (1861-1865). Newly elected 16th President Abraham Lincoln, suspended the constitutional right of habeas corpus in Maryland; and he dismissed the U.S. Supreme Court's "Ex parte Merryman" decision concerning freeing John Merryman, a prominent Southern sympathizer from Baltimore County arrested by the military and held in Fort McHenry. The Chief Justice, but not in a decision with the other justices, had held that the suspension was unconstitutional and would leave lasting civil and legal scars. The decision was filed in the U.S. Circuit Court for Maryland by Chief Justice Roger Brooke Taney, a Marylander from Frederick and sometimes in Baltimore and former protege of seventh President Andrew Jackson who had appointed him two decades earlier.

Delaware State of the United States of America

Delaware is one of the 50 states of the United States, in the South-Atlantic or Southern region. It is bordered to the south and west by Maryland, north by Pennsylvania, and east by New Jersey and the Atlantic Ocean. The state takes its name from Thomas West, 3rd Baron De La Warr, an English nobleman and Virginia's first colonial governor.

Indian Territory in the American Civil War

During the American Civil War, most of what is now the U.S. state of Oklahoma was designated as the Indian Territory. It served as an unorganized region that had been set aside specifically for Native American tribes and was occupied mostly by tribes which had been removed from their ancestral lands in the Southeastern United States following the Indian Removal Act of 1830. As part of the Trans-Mississippi Theater, the Indian Territory was the scene of numerous skirmishes and seven officially recognized battles involving both Native American units allied with the Confederate States of America and Native Americans loyal to the United States government, as well as other Union and Confederate troops.

In several states, effective secession in most of the state critically destabilized or virtually eliminated state government control over a region where people widely rejected secession, favoring the Union over their state. This was particularly true of Virginia, [5] leading to the creation of West Virginia. The same effect occurred in part of Tennessee and in other areas, but did not result in any split of other states.

South Carolina December 20, 1860 [6]
Delaware [7] January 3, 1861 [8]
Mississippi January 9, 1861 [9]
Florida January 10, 1861 [10]
Alabama January 11, 1861 [11]
Georgia January 19, 1861 [12]
Louisiana January 26, 1861 [13]
Texas February 1, 1861 [14] February 2346,153–14,747
Confederate States of America provisionally constituted February 8, 1861 [15]
Tennessee [16] February 9, 1861 [17] February 959,499–68,262
Arizona Territory March 16, 1861
Virginia April 17, 1861 [18] May 23132,201–37,451
Arkansas May 6, 1861 [19]
Tennessee [20] May 6, 1861 [21] [22] June 8104,471–47,183
North Carolina May 20, 1861 [23]
Missouri [24] October 31, 1861 [25]
Kentucky [26] November 20, 1861 [27]

See also


  1. https://www.constitution.org/csa/ordinances_secession.htm
  2. http://www.civil-war.net/pages/ordinances_secession.asp
  3. Confederate Arizona had a population of less than 13,000 as tabulated by Census of 1860. See https://ejournals.unm.edu/index.php/historicalgeography/article/viewFile/3089/pdf_18
  4. http://www.kentuckypress.com/live/title_detail.php?titleid=2338
  5. Curry, Richard O. (1964). A House Divided, Statehood Politics & the Copperhead Movement in West Virginia. University of Pittsburgh. p. PA49.
  6. ""An Ordinance to dissolve the Union between the State of South Carolina and other states," or the South Carolina Ordinance of Secession, South Carolina, 1860". TeachingUSHistory.org. Retrieved April 11, 2017.
  7. Did not secede
  8. https://www.delawareonline.com/story/news/local/2019/01/03/delaware-rejected-secession-union-jan-3-1861/2472301002/
  9. "Mississippi". 1starnet.com. Retrieved April 11, 2017.
  10. "Florida". 1starnet.com. Retrieved April 11, 2017.
  11. "Alabama". 1starnet.com. Retrieved April 11, 2017.
  12. "Georgia". 1starnet.com. Retrieved April 11, 2017.
  13. "Louisiana". 1starnet.com. Retrieved April 11, 2017.
  14. "Texas". 1starnet.com. Retrieved April 11, 2017.
  15. Provisional Constitution of the Confederate States
  16. First referendum
  17. On January 19, the Tennessee legislature in special session beginning January 7 required that approval of a possible secession convention be put to referendum on February 9. Voters rejected the convention, and by extension, any secession. Had it convened, it would have been overwhelmingly pro-Union. Thousands of pro-Union voters voted for a secession convention in the hopes that the convention would fail to the public embarrassment of secessionists.
  18. "Virginia". 1starnet.com. Retrieved April 11, 2017.
  19. "Arkansas". 1starnet.com. Retrieved April 11, 2017.
  20. Second referendum
  21. Public opinion had shifted dramatically, most notably in Middle Tennessee.
  22. "Tennessee". 1starnet.com. Retrieved April 11, 2017.
  23. "North Carolina". 1starnet.com. Retrieved April 11, 2017.
  24. Ineffective
  25. "Missouri". 1starnet.com. Retrieved April 11, 2017.
  26. Ineffective
  27. "Kentucky". 1starnet.com. Retrieved April 11, 2017.

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