Did a Majority of White Southerns Support Secession? (Poll)

Did a majority of white Southerns support secession ?

  • Yes

    Votes: 32 49.2%
  • No

    Votes: 8 12.3%
  • Impossible to determine

    Votes: 18 27.7%
  • Don’t know

    Votes: 7 10.8%

  • Total voters
    65

(Membership has it privileges! To remove this ad: Register NOW!)
Joined
May 27, 2011
Messages
16,614
Location
los angeles ca
#3
Did a majority of white Southerns support secession ?
More so in 1861 then by the summer of 1864. Of course if we count the forty percent of the Southern population which is black certainly not a huge majority of the Southern population supported the Confederacy.
The fact that by the summer of 1864 President Davis openly admitted in a speech at Macon Georgia that two thirds of the Confederate Army was AWOL dies not argue well for the popularity of the Confederacy.
Leftyhunter
 
Joined
May 20, 2018
Messages
412
Location
Silver run Md carroll county
#4
if you look at the 1860-1861 voting maps (search them up by the way) then yes most did support secession aside from certain areas such as North Alabama/East Tennessee/West Virginia, as well as some areas in Georgia, Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas, and Florida.
And western North carolina and parts of kentucky and Maryland and alot of Missouri and Northern Arkansas so basically what your saying is No
Alot of the south voted for the secessionist candidate Breckenridge but there were also large portions of the south who favored the more moderate Bell and even Republican candidates
 

lelliott19

Captain
Forum Host
Silver Patron
Joined
Mar 15, 2013
Messages
5,485
#7
Did a majority of white Southerns support secession ?
Excellent question. It was complicated. I am only familiar with the goings on in one state - Georgia. I voted "no" because in Georgia, it was, in my opinion, too close to call. So while this post may be of assistance in understanding what happened in one state, please don't assume that this the "the answer" your question.
Secession map.JPG

As shown by the "Raw Vote" in the chart above, Georgians were pretty evenly divided in their personal views on secession. The chart uses two main categories - Secessionists and Cooperationists - to represent a wider variety of views.

Secessionists were those who thought that Georgia should secede immediately. Keep in mind that Howell Cobb, Tom Cobb, and others had been campaigning for secession. For their "campaign trail" they selected key cities and towns where opposition was likely. They traveled by rail, from one town to the next, giving pro-secessionist speeches to convince Georgians that there was no reasonable alternative other than immediate secession.

The Cooperationists entertained a spectrum of views. Some were Unionists and had no desire to leave the Union, under any circumstances. Others classified as Cooperationists, thought that perhaps the immediate differences could be worked out and that secession should be delayed, in the hope of reconciliation. Still others in the Cooperationist category thought that secession should take place with all southern states seceding together - in unison.

Some have suggested/implied that the vote in the Georgia convention was "rigged" or "stacked against" the Unionists. The delegates to the convention were elected by the people in their home counties. The men were elected based on their platform - so for example, in Cass county, the people elected as one of their delegates, William Tatum Wofford - a known cooperationist - because that is how they expected him to vote.

Once the convention convened, there were early votes on countering proposals that indicated a close vote on the ultimate question was likely. Speeches were given by both sides. In the end, when the question was called, only 89 of the 132 delegates who were elected based on their cooperationist platform, voted against immediate secession. That means that 43 of them evidently were influenced by the proceedings and changed their minds. (They voted yes to immediate secession.) OR perhaps those 43 already had secessionists tendencies and had misrepresented their platforms?

William Tatum Wofford, mentioned above, was not one of the ones who changed his mind. He remained steadfast to his platform and true to his constituents and voted against immediate secession. However, once Georgia's Ordinance of Secession was signed, Wofford volunteered for military service and raised the 18th Georgia Infantry- despite his objections to secession. <Wofford is just one delegate, but the only one I know enough about to use as an example.He went on to advance to Brigadier General and served as such through the war.>Hopefully this will help you better understand what happened and how - at least in Georgia.
 
Last edited:

BlueandGrayl

First Sergeant
Joined
May 27, 2018
Messages
1,558
Location
Corona, California
#9
To retierate about if most White Southerners supported secession I have searched up "southern secession vote map" (look it up yourself) and saw consistent results in the secession vote in 1860-1861 on a number of maps I saw. From these maps I have at least two findings of secession:
* Most of the White Southerners in the Southern states that voted to secede (South Carolina, Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Texas, Virginia, North Carolina, Arkansas, and Tennessee) were in favor of secession.
* Certain areas like East Tennessee, North Alabama, West Virginia and portions of other Southern states opposed secession.
 

NH Civil War Gal

2nd Lieutenant
Forum Host
Joined
Feb 5, 2017
Messages
2,842
#10
I voted, "I don't know" because I really don't.

Who was allowed to vote?

1) All white men over 21 or?
2) All white men over 21 from middle to upper class families?
3) All white men who paid land taxes?

That could make a big difference and may lead, later in the war, to the saying, "this is a rich man's war and a poor man's fight."
 

archieclement

1st Lieutenant
Forum Host
Joined
Sep 17, 2011
Messages
3,903
Location
mo
#12
I voted yes, and stand by it.....When the South was deciding to secede it had no standing army or even government, see little evidence of any major organized resistance from within the south in 1861, instead most accounts talk of secession fever spreading like wildfire...that would equate to support not dissent.

There were pre war militias already standing to offer resistance if the majority in fact had dissented.....instead it appears they largely en masse volunteered for the Confederacy.
 
Last edited:

lelliott19

Captain
Forum Host
Silver Patron
Joined
Mar 15, 2013
Messages
5,485
#14
Why not look up "southern secession vote map" and you'll find results.
Those maps generally show how the delegates to the state conventions wound up voting. I think E was referencing the fact that the individual voters in all states except TX, VA, and TN elected delegates to the conventions and those delegates did not necessarily cast their votes as expected. TX, VA and TN were the only states that held referendum votes. The other states held elections to elect delegates who then cast their votes.

As in the example I provided above for GA, those elected delegates did not necessarily vote the way they had indicated they would when they were elected. In GA 43 of them changed their vote....they were elected because they indicated that they would vote against secession, but they wound up voting for it.

So even though the final vote of the delegates was 208 for secession (70%) vs 89 against secession (30%), the individual voters who elected those delegates were estimated split at 51.5% for and 48.5% against. And that is just the ones who voted and/or whose votes were counted. So it was very close in Georgia - it could have easily gone the other way.
 
Joined
Mar 13, 2014
Messages
6,459
Location
State of Jefferson
#15
I don't know so that's how I voted but I suspect the answer is more complicated than stated. I think given the unionist regions in the CSA and that four of the states originally didn't choose to secede it's quite likely that if all the citizens were to have voted it would have been pretty close. Since most states didn't have a direct vote of the citizens we then have to consider the motivations of those representatives - likely chosen from the upper classes - vs those of the average person.

I think once there was war that, at least for the first two years, the average citizen did support the notion of at least defeating the invading armies, if not that of an independent confederacy. By 1864, though, I'd put my money on the idea that the number who probably thought it was maybe a very bad idea was close to 50%. That's just based on things like letters, diary entries, and desertion rates. If you're just the average Joe and your family is starving or really struggling and there's no end in sight then you'd have to have asked yourself what's in it for you to continue and if maybe it was a bad idea to start with.

So, to re-iterate, I don't know but speculate that secession wasn't as popular as one might think.
 
Joined
May 27, 2011
Messages
16,614
Location
los angeles ca
#17
I voted yes, and stand by it.....When the South was deciding to secede it had no standing army or even government, see little evidence of any major organized resistance from within the south in 1861, instead most accounts talk of secession fever spreading like wildfire...that would equate to support not dissent.

There were pre war militias already standing to offer resistance if the majority in fact had dissented.....instead it appears they largely en masse volunteered for the Confederacy.
By the summer of 1864 that enthusiasm for Secession appears to have died down quite a bit. Edited.
Leftyhunter
 

major bill

Colonel
Forum Host
Joined
Aug 25, 2012
Messages
15,252
#18
This may partly depend on who one considers a Southerner. If all whites in border states count it might be a close call.
 

BlueandGrayl

First Sergeant
Joined
May 27, 2018
Messages
1,558
Location
Corona, California
#19
For this definition we're going to include the 11 Southern states that seceded (Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia) plus 2 states that had secession ordinances but never fully seceded (Kentucky and Missouri).
 

archieclement

1st Lieutenant
Forum Host
Joined
Sep 17, 2011
Messages
3,903
Location
mo
#20
By the summer of 1864 that enthusiasm for Secession appears to have died down quite a bit. Edited.
Leftyhunter
And there still wasn't much in the way of armed dissent or organised resistance in the south. Edited. but never approached anything remotely approaching majority dissent IMO. People when they are complaining tend to make dramatic statements, but the confederacy was crumbling due to United States forces, not from within IMO

Just as Union generals would complain about being outnumbered when they held the advantage......it's what people do when complaining.....the complaints aren't always literally true. They weren't admitting they were outnumbered as they werent......they were just complaining. Politicians are also prone to exaggerated statements and complaints.....then as well as today

If 2/3rds of the south was against secession in 64, they could have ended the war in 64......they would have had obviously the numbers to do so......Also rather odd if there was this widespread dissent against secession and the Confederacy, why would the lost cause be popular after the war? Doesn't make much sense if the majority in fact, were vehemently opposed to it........

Not saying there wasn't some dissent, or that it didn't increase some......but the question was if it was the majority
 



(Membership has it privileges! To remove this ad: Register NOW!)
Top