Speech of B.F. Perry of South Carolina in the National Democratic Convention at Charleston, SC, 1860

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Document Description:

Benjamin F. Perry was a Unionist who spoke out against secession.  Perry gave this speech during the 1860 Democratic National Convention, which convened at South Carolina Institute Hall in Charleston on April 23, 1860. The convention lasted 10 days and it was one of the crucial events leading up to the American Civil War. Perry's speech outlines his defense of the Union and of slavery.  Perry believed that secession would hurt slavery more than the federal government.  Despite Perry’s remarks, the National Democratic Party would split at the 1860 Convention, in a move that helped elect Republican Abraham Lincoln.  The printing of this speech demonstrates an audience for Perry’s views beyond the political convention.  After the Civil War, Perry would be elected as the first governor in South Carolina’s Reconstruction.

Citation:

Speech of B.F. Perry of South Carolina in the National Democratic Convention at Charleston, SC, 1860, South Caroliniana Library, University of South Carolina.

Correlating SC Social Studies Academic Standards:

Standard 3-4: The student will demonstrate an understanding of the events that led to the Civil War, the course of the War and Reconstruction, and South Carolina’s role in these events.
Indicator 3-4.3 Explain the reasons for South Carolina’s secession from the Union, including the abolitionist movement, states’ rights, and the desire to defend South Carolina’s way of life.
Standard 4-6: The student will demonstrate an understanding of the Civil War and its impact on America.
Indicator 4-6.3 Explain how specific events and issues led to the Civil War, including the sectionalism fueled by issues of slavery in the territories, states’ rights, the election of 1860, and secession.
Standard 8-3: The student will demonstrate an understanding of the American Civil War—its causes and effects and the major events that occurred during that time.
Indicator 8-3.4 Compare the attitudes of the unionists, cooperationists, and secessionists in South Carolina and summarize the reasons that the members of the South Carolina secession convention in 1860 voted unanimously to secede from the Union, including concerns about states’ rights and fears about abolition.
Standard USHC-4:  The student will demonstrate an understanding of the causes and the course of the Civil War and Reconstruction in America.
Indicator USHC-4.2 Explain how the political events and issues that divided the nation led to civil war, including the compromises reached to maintain the balance of free and slave states, the successes and failures of the abolitionist movement, the conflicting views on states’ rights and federal authority, the emergence of the Republican Party and its win in 1860, and the formation of the Confederate States of America.

Lessons Using This Document:

Secession a Southern Perspective - 8th grade

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