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Why did the South secede in 1860/61?
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The seeds of secession had been sown early in American history; quite literally with the fundamental differences in agriculture and resultant adoption of slavery in the South. From early days, the thirteen states had grown up separately, and each had their own culture and beliefs, which were often incompatible with those held in other states. The geographical and cultural differences between north and south would manifest themselves at regular and alarming intervals throughout the hundred years following the drafting of the constitution. Tension reached a peak during the 1850s, over the right to hold slaves in new territories. The Wilmot...
will poison us' seemed prophetically true, given the bitter struggle over bondage in the captured territories. When Clay, Calhoun and Webster died, realistic hopes of a peaceful solution to the sectional conflict died with them. Bloodshed in Kansas, weak Presidents, extraordinary goings on in Congress, a Chief Justice who was anything but impartial, extremists such as John Brown, and finally the United States' first sectional party all served to highlight the fundamental differences between north and south. Lincoln's election was the spark that ignited the tinder of secessionist feeling, blowing apart the Union. Furthermore, worse was yet to come...
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