Civil War Begins

The election of Abraham Lincoln, who promised to abolish slavery, led to some southern states seceding from the union in 1860. Soon after Lincoln's inauguration in 1861, the first battle of the Civil War took place.


1860- A presidential election year. The new Republican Party nominated its candidate, Abraham Lincoln, against Democrat, Stephan A. Douglas. Voters in Iowa and other northern states hoped that a Republican victory would end the extension of slavery, so they threw their support to Lincoln. And since the Democratic south wouldn’t tolerate a Lincoln victory, it was an election that could spilt the nation apart. In November, the election was held. Lincoln won by a narrow margin. For the south, this was the last straw. One month after the election, South Carolina declared that it was no longer a part of the Union. By January the secession fever had caught on: first Mississippi, then Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana and finally Texas. By February the seceding states had formed their own nation and had a constitution. Lincoln’s inauguration hadn’t even taken place yet. Settlers in Iowa had felt separated from the eastern mainstream of American life, but now they had a cause that united them with the rest of the Country. Many considered the secession of the south a violation of the Constitution, and they were ready to go to war, if necessary, to preserve the Union.

(canons and guns exploding)

One month after Lincoln’s inauguration the South bombed Fort Sumter in Charleston Harbor. The first blows of war had been struck. A nation was divided and had to take up arms against itself.


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