|July 11, 1861: Senate Expels Ten Southern Members|
|Document courtesy of
The National Archives
On July 10, 1861, Daniel Clark of New Hampshire offered a resolution to expel ten southern senators who had failed to appear for the emergency session. Clark accused the absent members of supporting the â€œconspiracy for the destruction of the Union and Government.â€ The following day, July 11, 1861, Clark called up his resolution for a vote. Senator James Bayard of Delaware objected: â€œI see no reason why we should depart from the determination of the Senate at the last session, in declaring the seats vacant.â€ Expulsion, Bayard argued, should be reserved for cases of individual misconduct. Senator James McDougall of California defended expulsion, calling the acts of absent southern members â€œtreasonâ€ and offered: â€œNo man has a right to a place on this floor who espouses a cause adverse to the Government.â€ Senator Milton Latham of California offered an amendment to declare the seats vacant, which the Senate rejected, 11-32. The Clark expulsion resolution passed with a final vote of 32-10. Among the fifteen members whose votes were not recorded on the official tally sheet featured here were ten southerners whose absence from the chamber prompted Clarkâ€™s resolution.
With the required two-thirds of the Senate voting in favor, the resolution passed, expelling: Senators James Mason and Robert M. T. Hunter of Virginia; Senators Thomas L. Clingman and Thomas Bragg of North Carolina; James Chesnut, Jr., of South Carolina; A. O. P. Nicholson of Tennessee; William K. Sebastian and Charles B. Mitchel of Arkansas; and John Hemphill and Louis T. Wigfall of Texas.