In 1850, representatives from nine slaveholding states met in Nashville in the first effort to present a united front against the national movement towards curtailing slavery.

Although the two sessions of the Nashville Convention were not called by Tennessee, Nashville was chosen as the site due to its location. In these meetings, Tennessee’s voice of reason prevailed and no ultimatum was issued. As the nation moved closer toward secession and war, Tennessean John Bell joined others who wanted a compromise between the Northern and Southern states and formed the Constitutional Union Party. The Democrats then split and nominated two candidates, which allowed the Republican nominee Abraham Lincoln to be elected president. In this lecture we will examine the divisions in Tennessee over secession and what actually led to its decision to leave the Union.


April 13, 2021


5:30 pm CT

6:30 pm ET