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Border States

File:USA Map 1864 including Civil War Divisions.png

Nordamerika 1864: rot die Konföderierten Staaten, blau die Union; hellblau Unionsstaaten mit Sklavenhaltung, die sogenannten Border Staes


In the context of the American Civil War, the border states were slave states that had not declared a secession from the Union (the ones that did so later joined the Confederacy). Four slave states had never declared a secession: Delaware, Kentucky, Maryland, and Missouri. Four others did not declare secession until after the Battle of Fort Sumter: Arkansas, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia—after which, they were less frequently called "border states". Also included as a border state during the war is West Virginia, which broke away from Virginia and became a new state in the Union in 1863.

In all the border states there was a wide consensus against military coercion of the Confederacy. When Abraham Lincoln called for troops to march south to recapture Fort Sumter and other national possessions, southern Unionists were dismayed. Secessionists in Arkansas, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia were successful in getting those states to secede from the U.S. and to join the Confederate States of America.

In Kentucky and Missouri, there were both pro-Confederate and pro-Union governments. West Virginia was formed in 1862-63 from those northwestern counties of Virginia which had remained loyal to the Union and set up a loyalist ("restored") state government of Virginia. Though every slave state except South Carolina contributed some white troops to the Union as well as the Confederate side,[4]the split was most severe in these border states. Sometimes men from the same family fought on opposite sides. About 170,000 Border state men fought in the Union army and 86,000 in the Confederate army[5]

Besides formal combat between regular armies, the border region was the site of large-scale guerrilla warfare among competing forces and numerous violent raids, feuds and assassinations.[6][page needed] Violence was especially severe in eastern Kentucky and western Missouri. The single bloodiest episode was the 1863 Lawrence Massacre in Kansas, in which at least 150 civilian men and boys were killed.[7][8][page needed][9]

With geographic, social, political, and economic connections to both the North and the South, the border states were critical to the outcome of the war. They are considered still to delineate the cultural border that separates the North from the South. Reconstruction, as directed by Congress, did not apply to the border states because they never seceded from the Union. They did undergo their own process of readjustment and political realignment after passage of amendments abolishing slavery and granting citizenship and the right to vote to freedmen. After 1880 most of these jurisdictions were dominated by white Democrats, who passed laws to impose the Jim Crow system of legal segregation and second-class citizenship for blacks, although the freedmen and other blacks were allowed to continue to vote.[10][page needed]

Lincoln's 1863 Emancipation Proclamation did not apply to the border states. Of the states that were exempted from the Proclamation, Maryland (1864),[11] Missouri (1865), Tennessee (1865),[13] and West Virginia (1865)[14] abolished slavery before the war ended. However, Delaware[15] and Kentucky did not abolish slavery until December 1865, when the Thirteenth Amendment was ratified.