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Timeline: 1860

May

18: Republicans nominate Abraham Lincoln and Hannibal Hamlin for president and vice president

June

23: Democrats nominate Stephen A. Douglas and Herschel V. Johnson for president and vice president; the anti-Douglas Democrats choose John C. Breckinridge and Joseph Lane

November

6: Abraham Lincoln elected as U.S. president
9: South Carolina calls a secession convention
10: James Chesnut, U.S. Senator from South Carolina, resigns
15: Major Robert Anderson is sent to take command of the Union defenses in Charleston, South Carolina
23 & 28: Anderson calls for reinforcements

December

4: President James Buchanan declares secession to be unconstitutional, but admits that the federal government does not have the power to prevent it
8: Secretary of the Treasury Howell Cobb (from Georgia) resigns
9: President Buchanan agrees not to reinforce Charleston without notifying South Carolina’s congressional delegation
18: Senator John J. Crittenden (Kentucky) proposes amendments to the U.S. Constitution that would protect slavery, known as the Crittenden Compromise
20: South Carolina secedes from the Union
20: The Senate forms a Committee of Thirteen to work toward a compromise; the Committee rejects the Crittenden Compromise
26: Major Anderson moves federal troops from Fort Moultrie to the stronger Fort Sumter in Charleston Harbor
29: Secretary of War John Floyd (Virginia) resigns
31: Committee of Thirteen reports its failure to reach a compromise: President Buchanan orders reinforcements for Major Anderson

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