Monday March 4, 1861
Especially important were both Fort Sumter and Fort Pickens, which the Confederate government was demanding and where federal troops were now surrounded by hostile Confederate forces. Did states have a constitutional right to peaceably secede from the Union and reclaim (with compensation to the federal government) federal property within their borders, as the seceding states claimed?
If states had no such right, what were the best means of asserting the permanency of the Union and the legitimate claims of federal government over the states? Now that the long waiting period was over, Lincoln would have an opportunity in his inaugural message on March 4, 1861 to address the questions of secession and federal property. What would he say?