"3. That to the Union of the States this nation owes its unprecedented increase in population; its surprising development of material resources; its rapid augmentation of wealth; its happiness at home and its honor abroad; and we hold in abhorrence all schemes for disunion, come from whatever source they may; and we congratulate the country that no republican member of congress has uttered or countenanced the threats of disunion so often made by democratic members, without rebuke and with applause from their political associates; and we denounce those threats of disunion, in case of a popular overthrow of their ascendancy, as denying the vital principles of a free government, and as an avowal of contemplated treason, which it is the imperative duty of an indignant people sternly to rebuke and forever silence."
This would seem to indicate that the threat of Secession was a "National" issue, that it was being openly discussed well before the 1860 election, for it to be included as a party position during the Republican Convention.
We know that South Carolina threaten secession IF Lincoln was elected. Everyone assumes that this was over the slavery issue. But when Fort Sumter was fired upon the Northern rally cry was to "Preserve the Union". Freeing the Slaves as we know did not become a War aim until later in the war, when the Northern people grew weary of the War to preserve the Union.
I really haven't heard or read very much on the secession debate that must have been going on in the late 1850's.
So, was the right of Secession, and the threat to exercise that state right, really the 'true cause' of the War for Southern Independence?
To what extent was secession threaten? We know that South Carolina made such a declaration and carried through with their promise to seceed. But did other southern state prior to events of 1861 make the same decalration that they would also seceed? Was this "national issue" of secession limited to only one states threat to seceed?