-- Dilemmas of Compromise --

Thursday December 20, 1860

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South Carolina Secedes

On this day, a secession convention meeting in Charleston, South Carolina, unanimously adopted an ordinance dissolving the connection between South Carolina and the United States of America.

The convention had been called by the governor and legislature of South Carolina once Lincoln's victory was assured. Delegates were elected on December 6, 1860, and the convention convened on December 17. Its action made South Carolina the first state to secede. Support for the Union was negligible, and a distinguished South Carolina unionist, James L. Petigru, allegedly commented at this time that his state was too small to be a nation and too large to be an insane asylum.

Two days after leaving the Union, on December 22, 1860, South Carolina sent commissioners to Washington, D.C., to negotiate for the delivery of federal property, such as forts, within the state.

Bibliography: Thomas, Confederate Nation, pp. 45-47; Rhodes, History, 3: 215.

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