Baptists and the American Civil War: February 23, 1861

Sam Houston, Texas Governor

Texas Governor Sam Houston

The Texas legislator, having previously voted for secession on February 1, today by popular vote affirms Texas’ secession from the United States of America. By a vote of 46,153 for and 14,747 against secession, the popular vote echoes the legislator’s earlier lopsided vote.

Afterwards, legislators rewrite the Texas Constitution. Changes to the Constitution include replacing the words “United States of America” with “Confederate States of America.” In addition, granting freedom to slaves is declared illegal, and state officials are required to pledge an oath of loyalty to the Confederacy.

Remaining opposed to secession, however, is Texas governor Sam Houston (illustration), a Baptist. Strident in his opposition, Houston in the coming weeks refuses to pledge loyalty to the Confederacy, and is removed from office.

Meanwhile, U. S. President-elect Abraham Lincoln, entourage in tow, unexpectedly arrives at the Willard Hotel in Washington, D.C., and in so doing foils an apparent assassination attempt. Having planned on stopping in Baltimore, Lincoln had received word of a plot against his life in that city. Advised to change his plans, the president-elect traveled to D.C. instead of Baltimore.

In the coming days, Lincoln’s critics will accuse him of cowardice. Nonetheless, the tension of the times is such that many southern sympathizers clearly wish Lincoln dead.

Sources: Texas Secession (link); Lincoln’s travel plans (link)