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The Coming of the Civil War
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By the 1850s, the North and South viewed each other as regions conspiring against the liberties of one another. Northerners saw in the expansion of slavery west the presence of a slave power conspiracy that might one day try to re-establish the institution in the North. Southerners saw the gradual elimination of slavery in the North and calls for the government to use its power to restrict slavery as a threat to the survival of the institution. The soil itself came to be viewed as slave or free, and it would take four years of war to decide which way it would ultimately turn.

In 1861, there were 19 free states and 15 slave states. Eleven slave states seceded from the nation in the following order: South Carolina (December 20, 1860), Mississippi (Jan. 9), Florida (Jan. 10), Alabama (Jan. 11), Georgia (Jan. 19), Louisiana (Jan. 26), Texas (Feb. 1). After the firing on Fort Sumter, the following states seceded: Virginia (April 17), Arkansas (May 6), North Carolina (May 20), Tennessee (June 8).

Slavery was ultimately abolished by the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863, though technically not in those Confederate areas under Union control. The passage of the 13th Amendment in 1865 marks the institution's final and total abolition.

Slave Populations:

(1830) (1860)
Alabama 119,121 437,770
Arkansas 4,717 111,259
Delaware 3,292 1,798
Florida 15,501 61,745
Georgia 217,531 462,198
Kentucky 165,213 225,483
Louisiana 109,588 331,726
Maryland 107,499 90,374
Mississippi 65,659 436,631
North Carolina 245,601 331,059
South Carolina 315,401 402,406
Tennessee 141,603 275,719
Texas 58,161 182,566
Virginia 453,698 472,494


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