How did slavery lead to the shelling of Fort Sumter?

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bullgatortail eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Slavery played no direct part in the shelling of Fort Sumter, the first action of the American Civil War. The federal fort at the entrance to the harbor of Charleston, South Carolina was still manned by United States troops following the state's secession. Major Robert Anderson, the Federal commander of the area had already abandoned Fort Moultrie and moved his men to Fort Sumter. He planned to hold the fort until given orders to abandon or surrender it. South Carolina authorities had already siezed all other Federal property in the city except for the fort. When Confederate States authorities demanded that Anderson surrender, he refused, and troops under General Pierre G. T. Beauregard eventually began a bombardment of the fort on April 12, 1861. Anderson's command consisted of less than 100 men, and after 34 hours, he surrendered the fortress.

Newly-elected President Abraham Lincoln use the capture of Fort Sumter to rally support for the war effort, and with the Confederate capture of Fort Sumter, Lincoln considered it the first act of hosility against the U. S. Southern states also recognized it as an act of aggression by the Federal government, and four more states seceded soon after Fort Sumter fell. As far as the slavery issue, it had no effect on the Battle of Fort Sumter other than in its wider scope as a divisive cause for Southern states to secede in the first place.

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