Learning Lincoln On-line

FROM--SET ONE, CIVIL WAR STUDIES

(Topic Sixteen:  Secession and the Civil War)

. . . Holding the 
Union Together

Holding the Union Together
Commander & Chief of the United States



Presidential Leadership

1

Soon after Abraham Lincoln was elected to the presidency in November 1860, seven southern states seceded from the Union. In March 1861, after he was inaugurated as the 16th President of the United States, four more followed.

    The secessionists claimed that according to the Constitution every state had the right to leave the Union. Lincoln claimed that they did not have that right. He opposed secession for these reasons:

Read the article on the Origin of Secession

 

Definition:   To secede–verb (used without object), -ced·ed, -ced·ing. to withdraw formally from an alliance, federation, or association, as from a political union, a religious organization, etc.

 

1. Physically, the states cannot separate from the union.

 

2. Secession is unlawful.

 

3. A government that allows secession will disintegrate into anarchy.

 

4. That Americans are not enemies, but friends.

 

5.  Secession would destroy the world's only existing democracy, and prove for all time, to future Americans and to the world, that a government of the people cannot survive.

 

 

. .  With these Lincoln thoughts and values, the United States would enter a four-year Civil War, 1861-1865.  Lincoln did not allow the seceded states' stars to be taken off the flag.  He considered his job, one of ending the division, and making the country one again.  This would take great leadership skills, as well as political skills.  The United States was seemingly falling apart, but Abraham Lincoln wasn't going to allow it.

Lincoln's "Cannot or Should not Secede" reasons:

The Union Viewpoint

The Confederate Viewpoint

Your Opinion:  Should they have & Why?

1. Physically, the states cannot separate from the union
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2. Secession is unlawful.
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3. A government that allows secession will disintegrate into anarchy.

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4. That Americans are not enemies, but friends.
 

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5.  Secession would destroy the world's only existing democracy, and prove for all time, to future Americans and to the world, that a government of the people cannot survive.
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 Other Activities

Secession was not a new idea.  During the history of the U.S., politicians in cities and states would get irritated with the FEDERAL GOVERNMENT and mention the idea of secession.  New York City considered secession.

1. About the same time that Abraham Lincoln was elected President, a small group of southern states had already seceded.  What states were first to secede?

2. List all the states that seceded from the U.S.


3. What did the President think about secession?


4.  Did President Lincoln remove the seceded states' stars from the U.S. flag?


5. What was the main cause of the Civil War?


6. What act of war occurred (when, where and what) to start the Civil War?

 


READ ABOUT SECESSION FROM PRIMARY SOURCES:  

Go to the Library of Congress Real Sources Page on Secession of the States.  Click Here.


PART ONE concerns the President Elect Lincoln's responses and handling of seceding states.  Read the real documents and answer the questions.


PART TWO concerns Lincoln's first inaugural address, and how he responded to seceding states.  Read the real documents and answer the questions.


PART THREE concerns more about the first inaugural address and its final form.  Read the real documents and answer the questions.

READING ABOUT SECESSION AND ITS' CAUSES FOR THE CIVIL WAR

1.   Read from the 19th Century School Books Collection Pages 240-242"...a conversation between a slave (that has attempted to escape) and his master."

2.   Even in Free Illinois, many complications for the Underground Railroad made it very dangerous for flight for freedom in a northern state.  (In Illinois)  The Black Laws of 1819, the conditions for flight are displayed.   Click Here to find out about them.

Plus---

3.   Read the short version: An American History of Slavery Timeline


4.   Review The Fugitive Slave Act of 1850--  A federal law that demands that runaway slaves be returned from the north, and no aid be given to them.  Jail time and a $1,000 fine could occur by persons breaking this law.

5.   Songs used by slaves to communicate to each other.  Very few could read & write, and it would be very dangerous to use written notes, so .......A song like "Follow the Drinking Gourd" was used to provide secret messages on how to travel on the railroad.  Songs slaves sang often had double meanings. Since slaves were forbidden to read and write, they had to communicate in ways that would not be obvious to their slave owners. One way was through song. (In tribal cultures of Africa, songs were often used to  transmit  information and therefore historians tell us that slaves used this same method when captured and enslaved in America.  Have students listen to and/or read the lyrics to the song Follow the Drinking Gourd and then challenge them to crack its code. (Historians know that the lyrics secretly identified landmarks and constellations to guide slaves along the trail to freedom. A “drinking gourd” described the Big Dipper constellation and its North Star, since slaves were familiar with carved gourds which they used to scoop water from buckets to get a drink.)

6.  Study the lyrics of "Follow the Drinking Guard."   Teachers can find lyric meanings at the NASA Quest Archives.

7.  Visit the 20th Century Declaration of Human Rights, from the United Nations.  Think about our American "Declaration of Independence."  How do they compare?


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