It would seem that the period of time between John Brown's Harpers Ferry raid and the election of Lincoln was the critical period. That Brown's raid demonstrated that northern abolishionist were willing to forment a slave rebellion against the the Slave owners annd that the federal Government was not willing to actively pursue those who planned the Harper's Ferry raid. Sure they hung John Brown, but then the abolishionist made a hero of him. On top of that the United States Government was taking steps which could only be viewed as being provocative by garrisoning arsenals and forts in the southern states in 1860 which had not been occupied for a long time. This seemed to point a dagger point at the throat of the southern people.
The election of Lincoln was the straw that broke the camels back because it demonstrated to the southern states that the Northern people were supportive of such activities because they supported the radical agenda of the abolishionist and the John Brown types by electing the republican candidate. The early actions of Anderson at Fort Sumter, of the Star of the West of Pensacola and dozens of other flash points only continued to fuel this fear and confirm the suspecions of the southern people.
David Upton has been posting several articles of what happened 150 years ago and I see this idea in most everything he is posting.
What do you think?