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Jospeh C. Sitterson, The Secession Movement in N.C. (1939)


Jospeh C. Sitterson, The Secession Movement in N.C. (1939)


J. Carlyle Sitterson (1911-1995) was born in Kinston, N.C. He received his B.A. from the University of North Carolina in 1931 and began teaching history at UNC in 1935 while completing his Ph. D. Sitterson’s account in his book The secession movement in North Carolina explores the political attitudes of North Carolinians before the Civil War, focusing on the political and cultural makeup around the state. While Sitterson presents all of the decision present in the state at the time of the secession crisis, his main argument and point made in his book, is that even though many North Carolinians did not think the election of Lincoln was cause to leave the United States, in the end NC choose to remain with the culture and people they identified with most closely which was the south.  Towards the end of his book Sitterson delves deep into the Secession conference and the months leading up to the secession of North Carolina form the Union. Sitterson presents arguments from both sides very thoroughly, presenting not only the secessionist view, but every well documented unionist perspectives. This book is an excellent timeline that focuses on the events around the state, the political opinions of those around the state, and the political conventions that occurred in the state. Sitterson pulls evidence form a variety of sources, most are editorials form different News Papers at the time such as the Wilmington Journal, The North Carolina Standard, and the Raleigh Register. there are a number of speeches also included that were made by the Governor Ellis, and State Senators both for and against secession.  


Sitterson, Joseph Carlyle


Sitterson, J. Carlyle. The Secession Movement in North Carolina. Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, 1939.




Sitterson, Joseph C.




Raleigh, North Carolina
Wake County, North Carolina

Original Format



On May 1, the legislature met ins special secession. Governor Eillis, in his message, Reviewed the theory on which the government of the United States was founded and discussed fully the Constitutional aspects of coercion. Assuming that the state would secede, he recommended a convention as the only legal method by which secession could be accomplished and advised that the action of the convention be unlimited and final. He urged for adequate preparations for war and sufficient funds for arsenals and the manufacture of arms.


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Sitterson,Joseph Carlyle, Jospeh C. Sitterson, The Secession Movement in N.C. (1939), Civil War Era NC, accessed April 17, 2024,