What Happened in 1861?

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The year 1861 was filled with many historically significant events including the commencement of the Civil War, the inauguration of Abraham Lincoln as president of the United States and the admittance of Kansas as the 34th state of the United States.

The Civil War was fought from 1861 to 1865. It began with the secession of seven Southern slave states from the United States. These states formed the Confederate States of America, known as the "Confederacy" or the "South." Jefferson Davis was elected provisional Confederate president by acclamation and was inaugurated on Feb. 18, 1861. The Confederacy grew in number when Virginia seceded from the Union on April 17, 1861, followed within five weeks by Arkansas, Tennessee and North Carolina, bringing the total number of states in the Confederacy to 11. The states that did not secede were known as the "Union" or the "North." The origin of the war was rooted in the divisive issue of slavery, especially the extension of slavery into the Western territories.

Abraham Lincoln was the 16th president of the United States and was inaugurated on March 4, 1981. He opposed the expansion of slavery into U.S. territories. He was assassinated on April 14, 1865, five days after the commander of the Confederate Army of North Virginia, Gen. Robert E. Lee, surrendered to Lt. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant and the Union Army of the Potomac.