Some of the secessionists took this as a defeat and left the state immediately to join the Confederate ranks.
The right to secede was based, the secessionists claimed, upon the fact that each state was sovereign, becoming so by successful revolution against England; there had been no political connexion between the colonies; the treaty of 1783 recognized them "as free, sovereign and independent states"; this sovereignty was recognized in the Articles of Confederation, and not surrendered, they asserted, under the Constitution; the Union of 1787 was really formed by a secession from the Union of 1776-1787.
There was much opposition in these states to such a course, but the secessionists triumphed, and by the time President Lincoln was inaugurated, South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Florida, Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas had formally withdrawn from the Union.
Fort Sumter, in Charleston harbour, had been besieged by the secessionists since January; and, it being now on the point of surrender through starvation, Lincoln sent the besiegers official notice on the 8th of April that a fleet was on its way to carry provisions to the fort, but that he would not attempt to reinforce it unless this effort were resisted.
In meeting all the extraordinary demands resulting from the Civil War he displayed great energy and resourcefulness, and was active in thwarting the schemes of the secessionists in the neighbouring state of Kentucky, and of the Knights of the Golden Circle, the Order of American Knights, and the Sons of Liberty (secret societies of Southern sympathizers and other opponents of the war) in Indiana.
Then the secessionists and Union men of 1861 united and regained control.
With equal blindness the Secessionists favoured, and the Republicans opposed, the calling of a special state convention to decide the issue of secession.
In 1862 the convention rejected the President's suggestion of gradual emancipation, disfranchised Secessionists, and prepared a strong oath of allegiance.
The Liberals were those who thought unjust the proscriptionary legislation passed against the Secessionists and Democrats; and to this issue of local politics were added the issues of national reform which the course of President Grant's administration had forced upon his party.
~ t The secessionists from the Liberal partythe Liberal non Unionists, as they were calledheld aloof from it; and Lord Salisbury was forced to form his cabinet out of his immediate followers.