Baptists and the American Civil War: March 15, 1861

Abraham LincolnIn Washington, D.C., U.S. President Abraham Lincoln ponders his options regarding Fort Sumter, now surrounded by Confederate guns. Knowing that the fate of the nation hinges on how he handles this thorny issue, Lincoln (a former Baptist) asks his Cabinet members for their input: “Assuming it to be possible to now provision Fort Sumter, under all the circumstances is it wise to attempt it?”

Meanwhile, Texas governor Sam Houston awaits his fate. The Unionist and Baptist is opposed by his state’s political leaders, who have already voted for secession but now await the formal outcome of a public vote. Although Texas is officially a state within the Confederate States of America, Houston takes hope in the possibility of Texas voters rejecting secession, as the Tri-Weekly Alamo Express reports:

There has only been 41,000 votes cast in the State so far as heard from which is about a half vote, and by which we have good reason to infer that a majority of the people are against secession.—A majority of those cast for secession have been obtained under false pretenses, bribery, trickery and intimidation. Some have been deceived by the cry of re-construction, others by the assurance that all the Border States would secede, that there was an irrepressable conflict, that great prosperity would spring out of disunion, &c.

Houston’s hopes will prove fruitless. Possible voting shenanigans aside, Texas voters will favor secession, and Houston will soon be removed from his post as governor for refusing to pledge an oath to the Confederate States of America.

On the Atlantic side of the South, Georgian Samuel Boykin, editor of the Baptists’ Christian Index, does not mince his words this week in voicing his southern loyalty and demeaning Abraham Lincoln:

“Last week Lincoln was inaugurated, not as a President of a free people, but like a despot.”

Sources: Lincoln’s question to his Cabinet (link); “Secession Votes,” Tri-Weekly Alamo Express, March 15, 1861 (link); “Political Events,” Christian Index, March 13, 1861