The Political and Economic Geography of Southern Secession
39 Pages Posted: 23 Aug 2016 Last revised: 17 Jul 2019
Date Written: July 2019
We study the economic and political determinants of the Southern secession movement of 1860-1861. While economic historians emphasize the importance of slavery to the South's economy as the primary factor behind the movement, we demonstrate the important role that political inequality among whites played in facilitating secession. In particular, secession was decided in state conventions, which allowed secessionists to exploit biases to representation and may have been pivotal in the key states of Alabama and Georgia. Our results suggest that the region's investment in slavery alone may not be sufficient to explain the electoral success of the movement in the biggest Lower South states.
Keywords: Secession, US Political Development, Representation and Voting Behavior
JEL Classification: D72, P16, P26, H77
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation