THE HISTORY AND DEBATES OF THE CONVENTION OF THE PEOPLE OF ALABAMA, Begun and Held in the City of Montgomery, on the Seventh Day of January, 1861; in Which Is Preserved the Speeches of the Secret Sessions, and Many Valuable State Papers
Orig. pub. Montgomery, AL 1861. Reprinted 1975. Print on Demand Edition 2018. viii, 9-464, XII pp., index. Item #160
As a delegate to Alabama's secessionist convention of 1861, William R. Smith recognized the drama and emotion involved in his state's fateful decision to leave the Union and tried to record for posterity as many of the key speeches and debates as practical in a single volume. Thomas McAdory Owen called this book "the principal authority for the events of that period" and it remains a starting point for interested readers and scholars of that time. The early portion of the book is the most valuable as it concentrates on the four days of the debates culminating in the vote for secession. Through the debates one sees the maneuvering between the secessionist forces and cooperationist parties, the arguments employed, the dominance of the secessionist forces, and the tensions accompanying the exchanges. Included are many of the telegrams and letters pouring in among the delegates.