Prior to Civil War, South buying Federal land in the South to get out of union?

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    Brion McClanahan mentioned in one of the lectures in the first half of the course U.S. Constitutional History that prior to the Civil War, the South was buying up federal land located in the South as a way to buy themselves out of the union. This is the first time I have heard of this. My initial web search came up empty.

    Does anyone know of any articles on this or where it is cited in a book. I think this is very interesting that the South was actively trying to buy themselves out of the union. Who was those involved? What was their agenda? What was the reaction in the North?

    Thanks in advance,


    I am not certain which lecture you are referencing. I don’t remember using those exact words. Are you talking about Southern interest in purchasing federal property in 1860 and 1861?

    If so, the Southern States, mainly South Carolina but there were discussions in other States as well, sent commissioners to Washington D.C. to purchase federal property and settle any outstanding debt issues. They were rebuffed by the Lincoln administration. Secretary of State Seward feigned sick so he did not have to meet with them. If the Union had negotiated with South Carolina, that would be both a de facto and de jure recognition of secession, something Lincoln refused to accept.

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