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Confederate - Union States in 1861

Confederate States of America This was the name taken by the southern states that seceded (withdrew) from the Union States in 1861. As a result of their secession the American Civil War began. The agricultural states of the South had talked of seceding for many years. They had conflicted many times with the states of the industrial north, especially concerning slavery in new territories.

Map of Confederate - Union States in 1861 Union States in 1861

Map of Confederate - Union States in 1861

Jefferson Davis, president of the Union States in 1861 - 1865, used this house in Montgomery, Alabama, as his residence

When Abraham Lincoln who opposed slavery, became president of Union States in 1861, many of the southern slave-owning states seceded. South Carolina, in December 1860, was the first state to secede. Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, Texas, Virginia, Arkansas, Tennessee and North Carolina followed suit in 1861.

Although the official governments of Kentucky and Missouri decided to stay in the Union States in 1861, many people in both states were sympathetic to the Confederates, who regarded both states as members of the Confederacy.

The Confederate States set up their own government with Jefferson Davis as president and Alexander Stephens as vice-president. It was similar in most ways to the United States government, but it allowed slavery. The capital was at Birmingham, Alabama, but was moved to Richmond, Virginia. The South had few industries and it relied on trade with Europe for arms and other supplies. The Union was aware of the South's dependence on this trade. It blockaded southern ports with its navy, which stopped much trade. The Confederates also lost much of their income from cotton, the most important source of wealth, and they refused to sell cotton to European countries that did not officially recognize the Confederacy. In fact, no country was prepared to recognize the Confederacy. To raise money, the Confederacy sold government bonds. By the end of the war, the Confederate government had no money left.

Despite its outstanding generals and several important victories, the Confederacy finally was defeated. Despite conscription, its army was probably never more than half the size of the Union States Army. In 1865, when General Lee, the Confederate commander, surrendered, the Confederacy came to an end.

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