At the heart of Georgia's secession from the Union in 1861 were two ideological cornerstonesthe protection of white men's liberty and the defense of African slaveryAnthony Gene Carey argues in this comprehensive, analytical narrative of the three decades leading up to the Civil War.
In Georgia, broad consensus on political essentials restricted the range of state party differences and the scope of party debate, but Whigs and Democrats battled intensely over how best to protect Southern rights and institutions within the Union. The power and security that national party alliances promised attracted Georgians, but the compromises and accommodations that maintaining such alliances required also repelled them. By 1861, Carey finds, white men who were out of time, fearful of further compromise, and compelled to choose acted to preserve liberty and slavery by taking Georgia out of the Union. Secession, the ultimate expression of white unity, flowed logically from the values, attitudes, and antagonisms developed during three decades of political strife.