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Southerners burned Lincoln in effigy and saw the election as a radical move, fearing they would lose their property and be ruined. Voicing the pressing concern of many southerners, Robert Toombs of Georgia stated, “Never permit this federal government to pass into the traitorous hands of the black Republican Party.”Seeing a new President, representing a brand new party that had never held political power, some Democrats in the South began to talk about secession. For the first time American political culture was under the control of people who to some degree were threatening the future of slavery. As Frederick Douglass phrased it, “The masters of slaves have been masters of the Republic. They were the president makers of the Republic. Lincoln’s election has broken their power.”After Lincoln’s victory, seven states seceded before inauguration—South Carolina, Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, and Texas. “The tea has been thrown overboard; the revolution of 1860 has been initiated,”read the Charleston (S.C.) Mercury in reaction to Lincoln’s election.In his inauguration, Lincoln vowed not to interfere with slavery. Lincoln's stirring inaugural address included the words: “In your hands, my dissatisfied countrymen, and not mine, is the momentous decision of civil war. The government will not assail you, you cannot have no conflict but be yourselves the aggressor…. "I am loth [sic] to close. We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained, it must not break our bonds of affection. The mystic chords of memory, stretching from every battle-field, and patriot grave, to every living heart and hearthstone, all over this broad land, will yet swell the chorus of the Union, when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature." By inauguration, the seceding states had seized nearly all federal property within their borders, but two harbor forts remained in federal control, Fort Pickens in Florida and Fort Sumter, in Charleston, South Carolina. Lincoln wanted to send food and other necessities to Fort Sumter. Confederate officer P.G.T. Beauregard ordered Major Robert Anderson to surrender the fort. He refused and in the early morning hours of April 12, 1861, Beauregard began the assault. After the first battle, only one horse had been killed. It is ironic that the bloodiest war in American history began with little bloodshed and a quick
10 Confederate victory. Lincoln proclaimed the lower South in insurrection and called for 75,000 men to enlist to put down rebellion. Arkansas, Tennesse, North Carolina, and Virginia also seceded, while Missouri, Kentucky, and West Virginia, remained in the Union as slave states. It was the beginning of the Civil War.