December 20 - 1860 - South Carolina Issues an Ordinance of Secession
South Carolina's Ordinance of Secession was the result of a very quickly assembled state convention that specifically addressed whether or not South Carolina would secede from the Union. Overwhelmigly, the members of the convention agreed to secede, although just a few years before, everyone would have thought that secession was madness. Secession had been floated for years by radical pro-slavery, anti-Union writers and politicians, but no one thought it was sensible for a host of reasons. What changed everyone's mind was the presidential election of 1860, which split the Democratic Party in two and placed Republican Abraham Lincoln in office. People in South Carolina, as well as much of the rest of the South, became convinced that Lincoln and the Republicans would end slavery, although Lincoln's campaign specifically said it would protect slavery where it existed. Nonetheless, South Carolina decided to leave the Union, kicking off a wave of secession.