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American Civil War

The Confederation of the United States

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In February of 1861 many of the states in the southern part of the United States decided to form their own country. They called it the Confederate States of America. However, the northern states did not agree that these states had the right to leave. This started the Civil War.

South Carolina Secedes

The first state to leave the United States was South Carolina on December 20, 1860. When a state leaves a country it's called seceding. This means they didn't want to be a part of the United States any more and wanted to make their own government. By February of 1861 a number of states had seceded including Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Florida, Louisiana, and Texas. Later, North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, and Arkansas would join them.

When the Southern states actually seceded and formed their own country, Abraham Lincoln and many others were shocked. They didn't think that the states would really leave. When President Lincoln became president he was determined to reunite all the states under one government.


Map of the Confederation of the United States - Click to see larger view


Why did the Southern States leave?

There were a number of reasons why the Southern States wanted to leave. A few of the major reasons were: Who led the Confederation?


Jefferson Davis


The President of the Confederation was Jefferson Davis from Mississippi. The Confederation had its own set of laws called the Confederate Constitution. Military leaders for the Confederation Army included Robert E. Lee, Stonewall Jackson, and James Longstreet.

The Confederation acted like an official government. They had their own money, their own capitol city (it was first in Montgomery, Alabama and later in Richmond, Virginia), and they tried to form alliances with foreign countries like Britain and France. Britain and France did not recognize the Confederation as a country, however. Neither did any other foreign country. Not having allies hurt the Southern states in the end.

Take a ten question quiz on The Confederation Questions page.

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