North Carolina Pre Secession Convention

CSA Today

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Dec 3, 2011
Laurinburg NC
To All,

Found this on another Civil War blog.
Comments? Anyone have any further information on this?


"Governor Ellis recommended to the Democratic legislature in November 1860, a conference of Southern States, the calling of state conventions, and military prepareness. Viewing such a convention as unnessary and a Secessionists scheme to take the state out of the Union, the Unionist Democratic legislature declined to call a convention.”
"But events within and outside North Carolina in the winter of 1860-1861 steadily weakened the Unionist majority and strengthened the Secessionists minority. Disunion was an accomplished fact and it was clear that no compromise proposal could be adopted by Congress because the Republicans opposed every compromise and concession to the South.”
“In January 1861, the General Assembly the Convention Act directing the people on February 28 to vote in calling a convention to elect 120 delegates to serve if the convention refrendum carried. The Convention Act passed because the secessionist legislators were joined by some Unionists, who reflected the views of Vance, Holden, and Badger that the convention would be controlled by Unionists and could serve as a safety valve, a bulwark of the Union, and a preventive of secession.”
“North Carolina votes against Convention to to Consider secession. The four week pre-convention was spirited and exciting. Of the 120 delegates chosen in the February 28 election, forty-two were secessionists, twenty-eight conditional Unionists, and fifty were unconditional Unionists. Of the eighty-six counties, only thirty elected secession candidates. In twenty-two of the thirty secession counties, slaves numbered more than twenty-five percent of the total population. On the issue of secession even the slaveholding area was divided. A secession county was generally a slaveholding county, but several slaveholding counties opposed secession because of their Whig strength.The voters were so suspicious and so afraid that a convention might lead to secession that they surprised many people in the state and in the South by voting against the convention, 47,323 to 46,672. Hence the the convention, which might have been controlled by the Unionists never met.”
Hugh T. Lefler and Albert R. Newsome, North Carolina:The History of a Southern State, pp.422-423.


NDR 5 th NY

Silver Patron
Nov 17, 2019
Lumberton, NC
Hugh Lefler was a long standing professor of history at UNC Chapel Hill. He was there during my time at UNC. He published “North Carolina, The History of a Southern State “ in 1954. Unfortunately for me, I did not take one of his classes . Several of my friends enjoyed his lectures.
I plan to read this when it when I retire.
Thank you for the post.
It is my impression, North Carolina had many small farmers who did not own slaves. This was particularly true in the piedmont and western areas of the state. I was surprised to see so many green counties in the western section of the state voting for the Secession Convention. The Secessionist fever of the Cotton Belt was not as prevalent in North Carolina.