The Political and Economic Geography of Southern Secession

Mario L. Chacón, Jeffrey L. Jensen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We study the economic and political determinants of the Southern secession movement of 1860/61. While economic historians emphasize the importance of slavery to the South's economy as the primary factor behind the movement, we demonstrate the important role that political inequality among whites played in facilitating secession. In particular, secession was decided in state conventions, which allowed secessionists to exploit biases to representation and may have been pivotal in Alabama and Georgia. Our results suggest that the region's investment in slavery alone may not be sufficient to explain the electoral success of the movement in the largest Lower South states.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)386-416
Number of pages31
JournalJournal of Economic History
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 1 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • History
  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Economics, Econometrics and Finance (miscellaneous)


Dive into the research topics of 'The Political and Economic Geography of Southern Secession'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this