-- Dilemmas of Compromise --


Friday February 1, 1861

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Texas Secedes

Texas was the last of the seven deep South states to secede, and its progress towards secession was also the most unusual. Its governor, Sam Houston, opposed secession and refused to call a convention after Lincoln's election. However, an election was called by a group of secessionists and a special session of the legislature approved the idea. The election took place over a period of days and in late January, the convention assembled in Austin. On February 1, the convention voted overwhelmingly to secede, 166-8.

Although February 1, 1861 is generally considered the day Texas repudiated the Union, the convention's action was not definitive. Perhaps because the convention was irregularly called, Texas was the only deep South state to submit its decision to the voters for ratification. The election, held on February 23, 1861, ratified secession by a better than three to one margin. A few weeks later, on March 18, Houston was deposed as governor for refusing to support the Confederacy.

Bibliography: Thomas, Confederate Nation, pp. 55-56; Potter, Impending Crisis, p. 497; Randall and Donald, Civil War, p. 141.

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