At the turn of the 19th Century, America was expanding at an exponential rate. As more and more territory was acquired, the debate between whether or not to create new lands of inequality with the presence of slavery grew. As the country continually expanded, boths sides – pro and against – vowed to fight for what they believed in, all for the United States to become the land of opportunity – interpreted by each very differently. Towards the middle of the Century, the debate over territorial influence grew and produced a political dialogue as seen through Compact vs. Contract theory – who should have more control, States or the Federal Government? As more time passed, more and more states throughout the South believed that the Federal Government was encroaching upon their individual rights, and felt extremely disconnected from the capitol, expressing concerns over being marginalized. After cumulatively meeting, many States throughout the South believed that it was only appropriate to leave the Union in order to protect their sovereignty. A new President, Jefferson Davis, took office, and the Confederacy was established. First, let’s establish what States were exactly under the tutelage of President Jefferson Davis. In order of admission, here are the states that entered the Confederate States of America:
- South Carolina
- North Carolina
(The Confederate States of America seen in red)
Now that we know what states were exactly admitted into the Confederacy, let us explore the many reasons for secession. Sectionalism existed throughout the United States from its inception. Industry varied from region, where the Southern and Northern economies greatly differed. The North mirrored that of an industrialized nation, with diversification of the work force, and established cities such as New York, and Boston. The South at the time represented somewhat of a feudal state, where plantation owners represented the lords, and the slaves like the serfs of Medieval Europe. Cotton ruled the South, quickly rising to become the most lucrative commodity during the 19th-century; cotton needed an efficient method of processing, and that came with long-established slave labor. Although slaves were seldom seen throughout the North, large plantations relied entirely on slave labor in order to produce goods to support the worldwide demand for raw materials – especially cotton.
Following a national discussion on the continuity of slavery as a practice, and whether or not slavery was a necessary part of the United States, the slave states of the South decided to meet to discuss the issues at hand, and respond to the growing national criticism against their way of life. The Montgomery Convention in 1861 resulted in the formation of the Confederacy, which lasted shortly until 1865. The governing body of the Confederacy mirrored that of the United States, but lacked centralized control necessary to win the war effort. One of the main reasons why the Confederacy failed, aside from its archaic belief in slavery, was the fact that centralized control during a warring period did not exist. The states declared resentment towards the centralized rule of the Union, which would prove extremely contradictory if the Confederacy followed the same path of leadership. The States included in the Confederate States of America argued for the preservation of their individual rights to continue slavery, and for States’ rights over Federal rights. Many citizens of the South did not feel connected in any way shape or form to the Union, which provided the largest driving force behind the division of the country, and subsequent Civil War. With the newfound Confederacy, the core values of the United States of America were called into question, where many found it contradictory for a free nation to have slaves. The people of the South did not share this opinion, because the practice of slavery was essential to their way of life. The Union saw this as an opportunity to truly unite the nation through universal thought – one void of slavery altogether. This vision was only achieved through an unnecessary, horrific Civil War. This conflict proved Americans’ dedication to what is right, and to protect the liberties of all throughout the country.