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Union IndivisibleSecession and the Politics of Slavery in the Border South$
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Michael D. Robinson

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9781469633787

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: May 2018

DOI: 10.5149/northcarolina/9781469633787.001.0001

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What Ought Patriots to Do?

What Ought Patriots to Do?

The Unionist Offensive in the Border South, November 1860–Mid-January 1861

(p.84) Chapter Four What Ought Patriots to Do?
Union Indivisible

Michael D. Robinson

University of North Carolina Press

This chapter explains the development of the Unionist Offensive, which was an effort by Border South moderates to sustain the region’s pro-Union mind-set in the weeks after the election of Republican Abraham Lincoln. Although the election of 1860 had proven that many white border southerners continued to espouse a preference for moderate politics, Unionists rightfully worried that pro-secession sentiment would spread rapidly in the region, especially after many Lower South states called conventions to consider secession. Led by Kentucky Senator John Jordan Crittenden, the Unionist Offensive was a full-fledged political campaign aimed at beating back disunionists. It included pro-Union political rallies, newspaper editorials, and stump speaking. The centrepiece of the Unionist Offensive was the argument that slavery was best protected within the Union and that secession greatly endangered slavery. The chapter focuses on Crittenden’s efforts to craft a compromise package in the U.S. Senate which would allay the fears of white border southerners about the safety of slavery now that Republicans were poised to take over the federal government.

Keywords:   John Jordan Crittenden, Unionist Offensive, proslavery Unionism, Crittenden Compromise, secession movement, conditional Unionists, Committee of Thirteen, Committee of Thirty-Three, Claiborne Fox Jackson

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