Could Illinois have seceded?

major bill

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Forum Host
Aug 25, 2012
The Copperheads were more talk than action. Still there was a fair number of them in Illinois, especially in Chicago. Was there any possibility that the Copperheads could have seized control of Illinois and took the state out of the Union? Perhaps if the Confederate army could have taken southern Illinois the Copperheads would have become more active.


Jul 28, 2015
New York City
Wouldn't think that Illinois was any more prone to seceding than any of the other mid-western states. Southern Illinois, known as "Little Egypt" consisted of many southern sympathizers but then again, you had Clement Vallandigham in Ohio who was an avowed Copperhead and agitated for southern rights. There was some hope early on in the Confederacy that the mid-western states might align with the south because of their dependence on the Mississippi River economic lifeline. But the increasing role of east-west railroads to ship mid-western wheat and other products to market made the river route less important.

Frank Watson

Oct 27, 2014
I suppose you could always come up with a chain of events that would lead to Illinois or any other state seceding, but you have to have votes for a convention and then votes at the convention. That was hard to come by in the real political world. Missouri couldn't until the Camp Jackson Affair / St. Louis Massacre. Arkansas didn't at its first convention.

I agree with jacket about the Mississippi. It would have been more important 10 years earlier.
Sep 17, 2011
Reckon it depends on how serious one takes secret societies and a Northwest conspiracy.......personally see little actual evidence of it, but at the time some tended to see secessionists, or a 5th column everywhere they looked, personally tend to think most was more imagined then real