With the election of the anti-slavery Republican candidate for President, Abraham Lincoln, the Southern states decided they had to take drastic action in order to protect their own interests. On December 20, 1860, a secession convention met in South Carolina and adopted an Ordinance of Secession from the Union. Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, and Texas quickly followed suit. These states sent delegates to Montgomery, Alabama and on February 8, 1861 adopted a provisional constitution for the newly formed Confederate States of America. Jefferson Davis was chosen as the President for a six-year term of office. The Constitution by which the permanent government of the Confederate States of America was formed was reported by the committee and adopted by the Provisional Congress on the 11th of March, 1861, to be submitted to the States for ratification. All States ratified it and conformed themselves to its requirements without delay. The Constitution varied in very few particulars from the Constitution of the United States, preserving carefully the fundamental principles of popular representative democracy and confederation of co-equal States.
These events were to set the stage for the bloodiest and saddest war in American history. In a conflict that combined elements of the Napoleonic Age with features of the new Machine Age, at least 600,000 Americans would lose their lives fighting for constitutional principle, sectional differences, economic self-interest, and moral righteousness. As a defining moment in United States history, our Civil War has no equal, these are the Civil War Chronicles.