What Led the Southern States to Secede in 1860 and 1861?

The secession of the southern states from the Union led to the Civil War, possibly the bloodiest battle in American History. Many factors such as different living styles between the North and South contributed to the cause of the secession. The growing dissensions on slavery were the major factor that led the Southern states to succeed in 1860 and 1861.

From 1848 to 1861, Southerners felt an increasing isolation from the North due to different opinions on the existence of slavery and that the North was trying to gain influence in order emancipate slavery in the South. Southerners believed that it would be better to leave the Union “than be lighted from it at midnight by the [arsonist’s] torch.” (Document 2) The South was agrarian based, unlike the industrious North; The South highly depended on slaves to produce goods such as cotton. If the Northerners were determined to prohibit slavery in all territories of America, then the economy of the Southern States would be threatened.
During the 1860 presidential campaign, the issue over slavery was discussed and the Republicans and Southern Democratic Party each took its stand on whether or not slavery should be allowed. The Republicans denied legal existence of slavery in any territory of the United States while the Southern Democratic Party spoke up for the unalterable right and liberty of all citizens to do whatever each mays. (Document 1)
It was thought by some Southerners that if the Republicans, who aimed to control or prohibit slavery, were elected into Presidency “the Union would be endangered from that hour.” (Document 3) The Southerners were outraged to find that Abraham Lincoln was elected President without a single Southern state vote in the 1860 presidential election. (Document 4) Lincoln himself as a Republican had once declared that the “Government cannot endure permanently half slave, half free,” thus implying that the ultimate extinction of slavery would be a definite course if he were elected....