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Why was North Carolina Reluctant to Secede from the Union?

North Carolina did not wish to join the other Southern states in secession after Lincoln’s election in 1860.  A major factor was the economics of secession did not make sense for North Carolina.  They did have a great need for slavery as they did not possess the same slave economy as the Deep South.  North Carolina was mostly made up of yeoman farmers who felt that their economic futures would be better protected under the constitution in the Union.  The Unionists stepped up to convince North Carolinians the benefits of remaining in the Union.  W.W. Holden, the editor of the Standard, was among the Unionists that proved influential.  Holden and other Unionists were able to win the General Assembly convention that Governor Ellis called to build up the army in preparation for secession.  This Union victory should have kept North Carolina in the Union, but the events at Fort Sumter ultimately proved too much and North Carolina followed the other Southern states in secession.  Though North Carolina had wished to remain in the Union, their position in the South and the actions at Fort Sumter was too much to keep the Old North State.


Tyler Pickard