Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation


Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name




Degree Program

History, MA

Committee Chair

Mallalieu, William C.

Committee Co-Chair (if applicable)

Howe, Laurence Lee


Buchanan, James, 1791-1868; Lincoln, Abraham, 1809-1865; Siege of Fort Sumter (Charleston, South Carolina : 1861); Fort Sumter (Charleston, S.C.)--Siege, 1861; South Carolina--Charleston; 1861


The purpose of this study is to review the period between the election of Lincoln and the beginning of the Civil War, especially in regard to the influence Fort Sumter was to play in the actual commencement of hostilities. Even in the colonial days there had been a reluctance to enter into a strong central Union, although such a Union had been required by the strongest necessity of self-interest and self-preservation. The old Articles of Confederation had demonstrated the reluctance on the part of the States to yield their sovereignty to a central Government. Although the new Constitution of 1789 had remedied the governmental weaknesses of the old Articles of Confederation, the States still held to the idea of separate and independent sovereignty. The idea that a State had the right to withdraw from the Union, upon what might be considered just cause, was by no means an exclusively Southern doctrine. The importance given such doctrine by John C. Calhoun in the nullification crisis of 1832, and the recourse to it by the South to meet the antislavery challenge of the Northern abolitionists, had tended to make the right of secession a Southern doctrine.