The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 94, July 1990 - April, 1991 Page: 639
The following text was automatically extracted from the image on this page using optical character recognition software:
1989. Pp. xxvii+5o0. Preface, acknowledgments, prologue, illus-
trations, maps, tables, graphs, epilogue, appendices, notes, biblio-
graphical essay, index. $45.)
Daniel Crofts tells the neglected story of secession in the key Upper
South states of Virginia, North Carolina, and Tennessee. Along the
way he highlights the relationship of unionists in those states with Re-
publicans and their attempts to reach a Union-saving compromise.
Secession came late to these states as unionists blocked all efforts to
join the Lower South in leaving the Union in the first months of 1861.
Following most recent studies Crofts points to party systems, region-
alism, and variations in slave density as the key causes of unionist and
secessionist strength. He also stresses that local communities voted as a
group and that local elites shaped pro- and anti-secessionist behavior.
The particular configuration of these factors gave unionism a much
larger following than in the Lower South.
For Texas and its Upper South neighbor, Arkansas, the most signifi-
cant difference was the institutional strength of the Whig party. Crofts
offers little explanation for why Whigs were almost uniformly unionist.
He alludes to economic change as the "catalyst" of party mobilization
and calls the basis of party loyalty "somewhat inscrutable" (pp. 47-48).
Further analysis of the root of Whig loyalty is sorely missed and would
be particularly valuable for comparison with secession in Louisiana,
which preceded Texas in seceding but had a healthy Whig party.
Secession finally came to the Upper South in mid-April 1861, Crofts
argues, because of Abraham Lincoln's proclamation calling for the rais-
ing of 75,000 troops to put down an insurrection in the South. This
rather than the firing at Fort Sumter forced all but the unconditional
unionists to side with their Southern brethren. In an again too-brief
discussion Crofts points to the sense of community between the Upper
and Lower South. Borrowing from Bertram Wyatt-Brown, he had ear-
lier declared secession to be "an issue more of honor than of substance"
(p. 95). When the choice of sides in the fight came, most citizens of Vir-
ginia, North Carolina, and Tennessee were honor bound to defend fel-
Perhaps Crofts is at times too brief because of the considerable atten-
tion he devotes to events and individuals outside the Upper South. In
some ways this is two books. One is about unionists preventing immedi-
ate secession. The other is about Republicans failing those unionists in
their attempts to preserve the nation. Chief among the Republicans
analyzed by Crofts are Lincoln and William H. Seward. Of the two,
Crofts believes Seward possessed far greater understanding of the
plight of Upper South unionists and made more realistic attempts to
Here’s what’s next.
This issue can be searched. Note: Results may vary based on the legibility of text within the document.
Tools / Downloads
Get a copy of this page or view the extracted text.
Citing and Sharing
Basic information for referencing this web page. We also provide extended guidance on usage rights, references, copying or embedding.
Reference the current page of this Periodical.
Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 94, July 1990 - April, 1991, periodical, 1991; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101214/m1/717/: accessed September 21, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.