Date of Award

Spring 1965

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts




I have endeavored to give an account of Richmond's reaction to Abraham Lincoln from his election in November, 1860, to his inauguration on March 4, 1861. I have also tried to emphasize the reaction in Richmond because it represented not only the attitude in Virginia but in many respects the upper South as a whole.

The paper is divided into two principal parts, each divided into three chapters. The first area concerns the effect of Lincoln's election on the people of Richmond. This is discussed in three chapters; the first, a study of the background events leading up to the nominating conventions and the conventions themselves; the second, a survey or the reaction of Richmond and Virginia from the results of the conventions to the election; and the third, the results of the election and a general conclusion.

The second area is concerned chiefly with the development and spread of the secessionist faction. The conclusion is reached that the majority of Virginians were reconciled to the fact that secession was necessary and proper by the time of Lincoln's inauguration. The fourth chapter deals with the course of action taken by Virginia after Lincoln's election and the ultimate unification and expansion of the dissolutionist faction. The fifth chapter relates the continued increase and triumph by the secessionists as a result of the failure of efforts at mediation and other factors. The final chapter discusses the reaction to Lincoln 's inaugural address and a conclusion.