Friday, May 06, 2011

150 Years Ago -- Arkansas Secedes

Great Seal of the State of ArkansasImage via Wikipedia

On Monday, May 6, 1861, Arkansas seceded.

In March, a convention had discussed secession, but declined to act.  They adjourned, but could reconvene if events warranted.

Fort Sumter and Lincoln's call for troops put Arkansas in an uproar.  Governor Henry Rector sent the militia to capture federal arsenals in the state and allowed the Confederacy to put artillery in Helena to command the Mississippi.

The convention reassembled on May 6.  An ordinance of secession was introduced.  A vote was held to put it up to the voters in a referendum.  It was a test of Unionist strength and failed mightily.  The majority voted it down; they wanted to vote on the ordinance themselves.  They voted for secession 65 to 5.

Also on this date, in Montgomery, Alabama, Confederate President Jefferson Davis announced that he had signed an act "recognizing the existence of war between the United States and the Confederate States."  Congress had passed the act on May 3.

There was no talk of rebellion in the act.  This was one nation issuing a declaration of war against another nation.

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