The Issue of Secession

As the United States drifted toward Civil War, the socio-economic dichotomy attained a notable political importance. In the months following Lincolnís election, it was the issue of Secession which lent a distinct notable political tone to the contrast between Lower and Upper south. The movement toward secession had itís origins in the Lower south. In the Upper south population sentiment was about evenly divided on the issue. This lack of a consensus had several results. Of the four states of the Upper south, only two left the union, Tennessee and Arkansas, and even these delayed action until May and June 1861. Within the state of Virginia, the mountainous western portion, which belonged unmistakably to the Upper south, refused to accept the decision to secede and entered the union as West Virginia during the war.

The secession controversy revealed two different southís: the strongly secessionist Lower south and the politically divided Upper south, where unionists and secessionists were of approximately equal strength. A referendum held in 1861 revealed that Gulf southern counties voted very heavily for secession( just 12 % against secession) whereas the electorate in Upper southern Texas was evenly divided.