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William Lowndes Yancey (American National Biography)

Scholarship
J. Mills Thornton, "Yancey, William Lowndes," American National Biography Online, February 2000, http://www.anb.org/articles/04/04-01080.html.
The election of Abraham Lincoln in November convinced Yancey that the time had arrived for immediate secession. He was elected to represent Montgomery County in the secession convention and was appointed chair of the committee that drafted the ordinance of secession. When the Confederacy was organized in February 1861, President Jefferson Davis nominated him together with Pierre A. Rost-Denis and A. Dudley Mann as a delegation to present the South's case to the European powers. Yancey arrived in London on 29 April and spent the next year vainly seeking diplomatic recognition for the new government. In November 1861 the Alabama legislature unanimously elected Yancey to the Confederate Senate. He then resigned his diplomatic mission and managed to return to the Confederacy via Havana and New Orleans. He took his senate seat on 27 March 1862.

Yancey soon became a leading states' rights opponent of the nationalistic Davis administration. He sought extensive exemptions from the Conscription Act and proposed the highly unpopular exemption of an overseer on every plantation with twenty or more slaves whose owner was absent. He fought to restrict the army's impressment of goods, and he strongly opposed allowing the Confederate Supreme Court to hear appeals from state supreme courts. During the debate on the bill to create the Supreme Court, in February 1863, he became involved in a violent encounter with Senator Benjamin Hill of Georgia on the senate floor and suffered injuries that forced him to absent himself for several days.
How to Cite This Page: "William Lowndes Yancey (American National Biography)," House Divided: The Civil War Research Engine at Dickinson College, http://hd.housedivided.dickinson.edu/node/18487.