LEARN NC was a program of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Education from 1997 – 2013. It provided lesson plans, professional development, and innovative web resources to support teachers, build community, and improve K-12 education in North Carolina. Learn NC is no longer supported by the School of Education – this is a historical archive of their website.

Fort Sumter from the Battery

The bombardment of Fort Sumter in April 1861 probably made North Carolina’s secession inevitable. About the illustration

In the months following Abraham Lincoln’s election as President, North Carolinians debated whether their state should follow other southern states out of the Union. Some saw secession as a matter of honor; some saw it as dangerous; others believed the South was “committing suicide” but saw no other choice once the war began. In this chapter, we’ll examine the debates over secession, the first shots of the war, and the reasons for North Carolina’s eventual secession in May 1861.