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The Year in Review: 1861

Kansas finally won admittance to the union at the beginning of the year, as the nation's 34th state and as a free state, but the end of the long stalemate over Kansas came as several other states were seceding from the federal government. Seven Deep South or Gulf states formed the Confederate States of America in February, raising the stakes of Abraham Lincoln's inauguration as president in March. Lincoln tried to respond to the crisis with a mixture of determination and flexibility but the initial results pleased few contemporaries. War erupted over the resupply of Fort Sumter in April and the crisis over slavery escalated to unprecedented proportions. Four more of the nation's fifteen slave states joined the rebellion. By the end of the year, nearly one million Americans were in uniform and thousands had been killed in various skirmishes and battles. Yet the long, hard war had only just begun and few realized the scope of the bloodshed to come.


How to Cite This Page: "The Year in Review: 1861," House Divided: The Civil War Research Engine at Dickinson College,