Tuesday, February 01, 2011

February 1, 1861

On Friday, February 1, 1861, a state convention in Texas voted to take that state out of the Union 166 to 7.  The measure still had to be approved by the voters in a referendum on February 23.

Texas's secession brought the first round to an end.  Six states, all in the deep South, had followed South Carolina out of the Union.  The border states -- Tennessee, Kentucky, Arkansas, Missouri, and especially Virginia -- would wait for further developments before deciding what to do.

The state leaders did the revolutionary act of breaking up the Union in a very legalistic way.  With some slight variations, it usually began with governor calling for a special session of the legislature.  The legislature, if secession seemed appropriate to them, would call for a state convention to consider the matter with the voters electing the delegates to the convention.

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