Border Slave State Convention

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BORDER SLAVE STATE CONVENTION, also known as the Peace Convention and Peace Conference, took place at Willard's Hotel in Washington, D.C., from 4 to 27 February in 1861. Initiated by Virginia's legislature, the convention hoped to avert war and reunite seceded Southern states with the Union, but the seven states from the deep South, along with Arkansas, Wisconsin, Minnesota, California, and Oregon, refused to send delegates. The convention president and former U.S. President John Tyler said the convention's goal was "to bring back the cotton states and thereby restore the Constitution and the Union of the States." Three days after the convention commenced, the seceding states adopted a provisional constitution for the Confederate States of America. The convention, however, continued its efforts to modify the Crittenden Compromise, which had failed as a proposed constitutional amendment in the preceding January session of the House of Representatives. Though attempts at modification of the proposed amendment failed to fully satisfy Peace Convention attendees, the group submitted its resolution for recommendations to Congress on 27 February 1816. The recommendations arrived thirty-six days before the South fired its first shot at Fort Sumter and marked the territory's last attempt at reconciliation regarding slavery.


Kirwan, A. D. John J. Crittenden: The Struggle for the Union. Lexington: University of Kentucky Press, 1962.

Randall, J. G. The Civil War and Reconstruction. 2d ed. Boston: Little, Brown, 1969.

James T.Scott

See alsoCrittenden Compromise ; Secession .