What were the top three events that caused the secession of the southern states in 1860?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

There were several events that led to the secession of some of the southern states in 1860. One event was the existence of slavery. The southern states wanted slavery to continue to exist. The northern states were becoming more focused on ending slavery. The South believed they had to secede...

Unlock
This Answer Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this answer and thousands more. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime.

Start your 48-Hour Free Trial

There were several events that led to the secession of some of the southern states in 1860. One event was the existence of slavery. The southern states wanted slavery to continue to exist. The northern states were becoming more focused on ending slavery. The South believed they had to secede if they wanted slavery to continue.

The election of Abraham Lincoln in 1860 was a key event. The southern states were convinced that Abraham Lincoln was going to end slavery. Even though Abraham Lincoln said he would allow slavery to exist where it already existed if it meant keeping the country unified, the people of the South didn’t believe he would keep that promise. Thus, several states seceded in December 1860 after he won the election.

The reaction of many northerners to John Brown’s failed raid also alarmed the South. Many northerners viewed John Brown as a martyr. The southerners couldn’t believe that a man who broke the law and encouraged a slave revolt would be viewed so positively. This led many southerners to believe they could no longer remain in the Union.

There were many factors that led the southern states to secede from the Union.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team