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"To Preserve African Slavery": The Secession Commissioners to Texas, 1861

"To Preserve African Slavery": The Secession Commissioners to Texas, 1861 Article By Matthew K. Hamilton* uring the secession crisis in late 1860 and early 1861, five states of the lower South appointed commissioners to travel to the other slave states with the purpose of swaying their fellow Southerners to leave the Union and form a Southern Confederacy. Mississippi, Alabama, South Carolina, Georgia, and Louisiana appointed a total of fifty-five commissioners who journeyed to the farthest reaches of the South between December 1860 and April 1861. However, they were not, for the most part, the famous names of the 1860­61 secessionist movement. Indeed, outside of their home states they were rather obscure figures. Most of the commissioners were lawyers, judges, doctors, newspaper editors, farmers, and planters. The vast majority of them had modest reputations as politicians, and most were recognized for possessing above average oratorical skills. These attributes qualified them for their role as secession commissioners.1 Once the commissioners arrived in the states they were assigned to visit, most addressed the state legislatures or conventions that would vote on secession. They delivered speeches to large crowds whenever possible and wrote letters to governors and state legislators. The commissioners' letters, speeches, and actions provide an unparalleled insight into the mindset http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Southwestern Historical Quarterly Texas State Historical Association

"To Preserve African Slavery": The Secession Commissioners to Texas, 1861

Southwestern Historical Quarterly , Volume 114 (4) – May 14, 2011

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Publisher
Texas State Historical Association
Copyright
Copyright © Texas State Historical Association
ISSN
1558-9560
Publisher site
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Abstract

Article By Matthew K. Hamilton* uring the secession crisis in late 1860 and early 1861, five states of the lower South appointed commissioners to travel to the other slave states with the purpose of swaying their fellow Southerners to leave the Union and form a Southern Confederacy. Mississippi, Alabama, South Carolina, Georgia, and Louisiana appointed a total of fifty-five commissioners who journeyed to the farthest reaches of the South between December 1860 and April 1861. However, they were not, for the most part, the famous names of the 1860­61 secessionist movement. Indeed, outside of their home states they were rather obscure figures. Most of the commissioners were lawyers, judges, doctors, newspaper editors, farmers, and planters. The vast majority of them had modest reputations as politicians, and most were recognized for possessing above average oratorical skills. These attributes qualified them for their role as secession commissioners.1 Once the commissioners arrived in the states they were assigned to visit, most addressed the state legislatures or conventions that would vote on secession. They delivered speeches to large crowds whenever possible and wrote letters to governors and state legislators. The commissioners' letters, speeches, and actions provide an unparalleled insight into the mindset

Journal

Southwestern Historical QuarterlyTexas State Historical Association

Published: May 14, 2011

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