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

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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

MattL

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I didn't cast a vote because I'm not sure of the numbers, but it was very controversial. A lot of modern internet posters like to cast this as, "us, vs. them."

Not true at all, but when the decision's been made, you do your duty and that's they way it was.
Well unless you unilaterally seceded from your State like your State unilaterally seceded from the US :wink:
 

MattL

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Yes, I believe they did (not to diminish the fact that plenty were against it). People should note that even in places like Virginia that didn't secede until the war started wasn't against secession, they just wanted to wait it out before fully seceding. In January the Virginia local government unanimously passed a measure to secede if reconciliation regarding the issue of slavery wasn't resolved, this was before they formed the Secession Convention and then proceeded that way. It shows how strongly pro-secession sentiment was with the existing local government of Virginia so early on, just a desire to wait and try some things first.

It quickly became less about pro and against secession, just what form of secession did you support, immediate secession or wait and see (and try all alternatives) secession.

There were in fact groups against secession of course, many with economic ties that weren't slave interest based and tied to Northern markets and trade with the rest of the US, so secession would handicap their industry (or the industries they represented) if they seceded.
 

5fish

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When Virginia ratified the ordinance of secession...

Virginia's ordinance of secession was ratified in a referendum held on May 23, 1861, by a vote of 132,201 to 37,451.[34][38]

This was after Lincoln called up the troops...
 
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5fish

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Here is North Carolina's vote before Lincoln calls up the troops...

Defeating the secessionists by a vote of 47,323 to 46,672, Unionists carried the northeastern counties and most of the Piedmont and western counties. Because a few Unionists like Vance supported the convention call, the delegate elections are more indicative of actual sentiment; only 39 of the 120 delegates were secessionists. A few days after the vote, on March 4, Lincoln gave an inaugural address, which many considered conciliatory.

Then later ...
 

leftyhunter

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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
Edited.
In recent years historian's have documented internal armed resistance to the Confederacy and it was rather substantial in certain areas. "Bitterly divided the South's inner Civil War" David Williams the new press.com and "Savage Conflict the decisive role of guerrilla warfare in the Civil War " University of North Carolina Press Daniel Sutherland among others covers that topic.
Leftyhunter
 
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archieclement

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Edited.
In recent years historian's have documented internal armed resistance to the Confederacy and it was rather substantial in certain areas. "Bitterly divided the South's inner Civil War" David Williams the new press.com and "Savage Conflict the decisive role of guerrilla warfare in the Civil War " University of North Carolina Press Daniel Sutherland among others covers that topic.
Leftyhunter
once again the question wasn't if dissent existed, its if it was the majority. The confederacy couldn't have existed at all without majority consent IMO.....as I said before it had no standing army originally to put down dissent. Its existence and foundation required support to even form. That it could raise a standing army as quickly as it did, shows widespread majority support for it, not dissent
 
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uaskme

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I think there is enough evidence that the Majority didn't want Secession. Here in Tennessee the Majority wanted Compromise. When that failed and Fort Sumpter happened, many became Secessionist. It wasn't their first Option.

By 64 many Southerners, especially those who had lived under Occupation had decided the War was Lost. If you decided that the Cause was Lost, Secession was no longer an option. Those Southerners didn't become Yankee. And for the most part, Still Haven't.
 

leftyhunter

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once again the question wasn't if dissent existed, its if it was the majority. The confederacy couldn't have existed at all without majority consent IMO.....as I said before it had no standing army originally to put down dissent. Its existence and foundation required support to even form. That it could raise a standing army as quickly as it did, shows widespread majority support for it, not dissent
My point is by the summer of 1864 the bloom was off the secessionists rose. That is many who originally supported secession were now against it.
Leftyhunter
 

wausaubob

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once again the question wasn't if dissent existed, its if it was the majority. The confederacy couldn't have existed at all without majority consent IMO.....as I said before it had no standing army originally to put down dissent. Its existence and foundation required support to even form. That it could raise a standing army as quickly as it did, shows widespread majority support for it, not dissent
I agree with Archie. If you observe the overall pattern, and read the analysis of people like Kenneth Stampp, in areas in which cotton was a major crop, secession had majority support among whites. SE Arkansas, W. Tennessee, southern North Carolina, all were part of the cotton economy and supported secession.
The overall pattern was that the bulk of support for secession came from areas with a high % of the population enslaved.
A high percentage of slaves in the county led to support for secession. Participation in the cotton economy, and therefore cotton fever, led to support for secession. Those areas closest to Washington, D.C., Delaware, Maryland, Western Virginia, and Kentucky, did not see the federal government as foreign.
 
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leftyhunter

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I think there is enough evidence that the Majority didn't want Secession. Here in Tennessee the Majority wanted Compromise. When that failed and Fort Sumpter happened, many became Secessionist. It wasn't their first Option.

By 64 many Southerners, especially those who had lived under Occupation had decided the War was Lost. If you decided that the Cause was Lost, Secession was no longer an option. Those Southerners didn't become Yankee. And for the most part, Still Haven't.
Many Southerners did not " become Yank" but by the summer of 2864 many Southerners were either enlisted in the Union Army or local Unionist militia's.
Leftyhunter
 

leftyhunter

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I agree with Archie. If you observe the overall pattern, and read the analysis of people like Kenneth Stampp, in areas in which cotton was a major crop, secession had majority support among whites. SE Arkansas, W. Tennessee, southern North Carolina, all were part of the cotton economy and supported secession.
The overall pattern was that the bulk of support for secession came from areas with a high % of the population enslaved.
A high percentage of slaves in the county led to support for secession. Participation in the cotton economy, and therefore cotton fever, led to support for secession. Those areas closest to Washington, D.C., Delaware, Maryland, Western Virginia, and Kentucky, did not see the federal government as foreign.
True in the sense that Unionist recruitment was higher in areas that had less slaves per capita then in the high slave per capita areas.
Leftyhunter
 

wausaubob

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As the secessionist movement surged there were somethings that that were concealed from the ordinary people.
1. The demographic strength of the Midwest population in terms of the % of working age men.
2. The affect of steam on distance, at sea, on the rivers and on the power to mobilize land forces.
3. The sophistication of the enslaved population in the upper South, and how much they would help the US forces.
 
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archieclement

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My point is by the summer of 1864 the bloom was off the secessionists rose. That is many who originally supported secession were now against it.
Leftyhunter
I disagree somewhat with that assessment, realizing a war is lost and not wanting to die for a lost cause isn't the same as disavowing the lost cause.…… Why the lost cause becomes or remains popular after the war.
 

wausaubob

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The enslaved population might have supported secession, if they were sure the Yankees would fight. As they saw US forces approach they supported secession but not the Confederacy.
 

leftyhunter

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I disagree somewhat with that assessment, realizing a war is lost and not wanting to die for a lost cause isn't the same as disavowing the lost cause.…… Why the lost cause becomes or remains popular after the war.
The Lost Cause became popular due to successful violence to ensure that blacks would not achieve equality with whites.
The Lost Cause was not the last attempt by a defeated people to rationalize their defeat.
Leftyhunter
 
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leftyhunter

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The enslaved population might have supported secession, if they were sure the Yankees would fight. As they saw US forces approach they supported secession but not the Confederacy.
Why exactly would the enslaved population support efforts to keep them enslaved?
Leftyhunter
 

wausaubob

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Why exactly would the enslaved population support efforts to keep them enslaved?
Leftyhunter
If secession caused the paid labor states to take a definite stand against slavery, and fought to restore the United States, slavery would be damaged. If the only damage was the abolition of slavery in D.C., and drastic modification of the Fugitive Slave Act, that would start the process of abolition.
The war accomplished much more than that even in 1861. Slavery became unenforceable in large parts of Missouri and Maryland. Slaves could no longer be transported on the Ohio River, or the Mississippi above Cairo.
Slaves were good listeners. If the owners were afraid of the Yankees, the Yankees must be in favor of greater freedom.
 
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uaskme

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Many Southerners did not " become Yank" but by the summer of 2864 many Southerners were either enlisted in the Union Army or local Unionist militia's.
Leftyhunter
If one had the option to take the Oath and join the Union Army versus starving or dying, One would think it might become popular. Especially when the Confederacy gave up Territory. The best options for some of these men were to go Home or take the Oath. It didn’t make them Unionist. Many were Conditional Confederates. Late in the War the Confederacy couldn’t protect them from the Yankee so at that point, it was useless.
 

leftyhunter

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If one had the option to take the Oath and join the Union Army versus starving or dying, One would think it might become popular. Especially when the Confederacy gave up Territory. The best options for some of these men were to go Home or take the Oath. It didn’t make them Unionist. Many were Conditional Confederates. Late in the War the Confederacy couldn’t protect them from the Yankee so at that point, it was useless.
Only a small fraction of the Unionist troops were recruited from Pow camps.
Leftyhunter
 
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