Constitution of 1861 &
Ordinance of Secession
In January 1861, in response to the rise of a new political party committed to stopping the spread of slavery in America, delegates assembled in Montgomery to determine Alabama’s future in the United States. On January 11, 1861, they adopted an ordinance that withdrew Alabama from the Union and invited the fourteen other slaveholding states to discuss forming a new southern confederacy. The convention also wrote and adopted a new state constitution which codified secession, transferred all federal property in Alabama to the new Confederate government, and forbade the emancipation of enslaved people.
On February 18, 1861, Jefferson Davis was inaugurated as president of the Confederate States of America the portico of the Alabama State Capitol. This 1888 lithograph is an artist's depiction based on a photograph of the event. Library of Congress