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The Secession Movement 1860‑1861
by
Dwight Lowell Dumond

Just as no man is a hero to his valet, so no author is to anyone who has to transcribe or translate them; but of the hundred or so books on this site (16 of them on American history), all of them rekeyed by hand, this is one of the few that the further I worked on it, the more I liked.

Every American schoolchild knows that 'the Southern states seceded from the Union, precipitating the Civil War': this book goes into the detailed dynamics of the process, showing it to be, as most processes are, much more complex than any propagandistic modern summary of it. Prof. Dumond spreads the blame around, but the bulk of it — rightly, in my opinion — he lays on Lincoln and his backers, who seem to have been about the only people in the country not to realize what a disaster they were bringing on themselves.

The skulduggeries and overly clever maneuvers of party hacks didn't help, either: all of which we get to see as near first-hand as we can, by extensive reference to newspapers of the time. In fact, The Secession Movement 1860‑1861 was only one-half of Dumond's output in 1931: the other book was a careful selection of editorials from those newspapers — which, curiously, saw its copyright renewed (one would expect his original writing to be the more carefully protected of the two), and I can therefore not share online, at least for now.

Two contemporary reviews of the work are also onsite:

Frank Maloy Anderson in The American Historical Review

J. G. de Rouilhac Hamilton in the Mississippi Valley Historical Review

For technical details on how this site is laid out, see below, after the author's preface and my table of contents.

p. v Preface

This monograph was submitted originally to the Board of Graduate Studies in the University of Michigan in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.

I have attempted to state the premises upon which the several groups of Southerners justified resistance to the federal government, and to trace the process of secession. Such a study, of necessity, emphasizes constitutional interpretations and touches more lightly the important social and economic factors involved. By the same tenets, the question of slavery in the territories, as one phase of the abstract rights of slavery under the Constitution, looms larger than it would in a definitive study of the origins of the war.

It has been my constant concern to detach myself from the tradition that the Civil War was irrepressible. That idea implies that the American people were incapable of solving a difficult problem except by bloodletting, and confuses the designs of party politicians with the arts of statesmanship.

That a twofold revolution was in progress scarcely can be disputed. It is equally clear that the movement at the South was under skillful direction; and, although in no sense a political conspiracy, was well organized from the very first. An exhaustive study of newspaper sources has brought to light material of great value; because newspapers, p. viand not private correspondence, were the sources of information for the people at large.

I have sought to clarify and to reinterpret without the use of frequent qualifying phrases, conscious that further research will bring forth new and sounder interpretations at many points.

I wish to acknowledge a deep sense of gratitude to Professor Ulrich Bonnell Phillips and to Professor Thomas Maitland Marshall. Their contributions in personal inspiration are inseparable; both assisted materially in criticism and suggestions. I am indebted to many personal friends and archivists who placed at my disposal a wealth of manuscript material, and who, by their many courtesies, increased the pleasure of research.

Dwight L. Dumond

University of Michigan,
June 1, 1931.

Conflicting Political Principles, 1860

A Project of Coöperation

The Crises in the Charleston Convention

The Democracy Divided

The Democratic Conventions at Baltimore

The Constitutional Union Convention and the Campaign

The Basis for Immediate Southern Independence

First Efforts at Compromise

The Result of the First Failure at Compromise

The Secession of the Gulf States

The Proposed Program for Reconstruction

The Washington Conference Convention

[decorative delimiter]

Technical Details

Edition Used

The edition used in this transcription is the Negro Universities Press reprint, 1968. The original book was copyright 1931 — but the publishers failed to renew their copyright in the appropriate year, which would have been 1958 or 1959, so the text has fallen into the public domain (details here on the copyright law involved).

Proofreading

As almost always, I retyped the text by hand rather than scanning it — not only to minimize errors prior to proofreading, but as an opportunity for me to become intimately familiar with the work, an exercise which I heartily recommend: Qui scribit, bis legit. (Well-meaning attempts to get me to scan text, if successful, would merely turn me into some kind of machine: gambit declined.)

This transcription has been minutely proofread. In the table of contents above, the sections are shown on blue backgrounds, indicating that I believe the text of them to be completely errorfree. As elsewhere on this site, the header bar at the top of each chapter's webpage will remind you with the same color scheme.

The edition I followed was very well proofread, with very few typographical errors. I marked the few corrections, when important, with a bullet like this;º and when trivial, with a dotted underscore like this: as elsewhere on my site, glide your cursor over the bullet or the underscored words to read the variant. Similarly, bullets before measurements provide conversions to metric, e.g., 10 miles.

A small number of odd spellings, curious turns of phrase, etc. have been marked <!‑‑ sic ‑‑> in the sourcecode, just to confirm that they were checked.

Any other mistakes, please drop me a line, of course: especially if you have a copy of the printed book in front of you.

Pagination and Local Links

For citation and indexing purposes, the pagination is shown in the right margin of the text at the page turns (as in the author's Preface above); these are also local anchors. Sticklers for total accuracy will of course find the anchor at its exact place in the sourcecode.

In addition, I've inserted a number of other local anchors: whatever links might be required to accommodate the author's own cross-references, as well as a few others for my own purposes. If in turn you have a website and would like to target a link to some specific passage of the text, please let me know: I'll be glad to insert a local anchor there as well.



[image ALT: A map of the United States in which the South is broken off somewhat separately. The image is further explained on the text of this webpage, and serves as the icon on my site for Dumond's book, 'The Secession Movement, 1860‑1861'.]

The icon I use to indicate this subsite is an obvious one, a graphic view of the geographical split; bearing in mind that I've streamlined it, and a sizable part of that blue area was not yet formed into States. In the headers of the chapters, the thumbnail also shows how the differences became more and more pronounced:


[image ALT: A map of the United States in which the South is broken off somewhat separately. The image is further explained on the text of this webpage.]
	
[image ALT: A map of the United States in which the South is broken off somewhat separately. The image is further explained on the text of this webpage.]
	
[image ALT: A map of the United States in which the South is broken off somewhat separately. The image is further explained on the text of this webpage.]
	
[image ALT: A map of the United States in which the South is broken off somewhat separately. The image is further explained on the text of this webpage.]
	
[image ALT: A map of the United States in which the South is broken off somewhat separately. The image is further explained on the text of this webpage.]
	
[image ALT: A map of the United States in which the South is broken off somewhat separately. The image is further explained on the text of this webpage.]
	
[image ALT: A map of the United States in which the South is broken off somewhat separately. The image is further explained on the text of this webpage.]
	
[image ALT: A map of the United States in which the South is broken off somewhat separately. The image is further explained on the text of this webpage.]
	
[image ALT: A map of the United States in which the South is broken off somewhat separately. The image is further explained on the text of this webpage.]
	
[image ALT: A map of the United States in which the South is broken off somewhat separately. The image is further explained on the text of this webpage.]
	
[image ALT: A map of the United States in which the South is broken off somewhat separately. The image is further explained on the text of this webpage.]
	
[image ALT: A map of the United States in which the South is broken off somewhat separately. The image is further explained on the text of this webpage.]

With the march of events, not only does the South turn a more distinctive shade of red, but the North too loses much of its native blue. As intolerance took hold and the United States split, not only the South, but also the North, became less characteristically American, certainly to the extent that the nature of the Constitution as a compact between States was abandoned and coercion rather than consent became the basis of government.


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