"There is a small but vigorous party in the southern states determined to elect an Anti-slavery president."
- The New York Times, December 26, 1858
MEMBERS OF the Fire Eaters were proslavery extremists who wanted to create a "Southern Empire." Beginning in 1850, Fire Eaters called for southern states to succeed from the Union and form their own nation. Knowing that it would take extreme measures for the South to leave the Union, Fire Eaters actively encouraged a civil war.
In an effort to divide the nation and hopefully achieve war, it is believed Fire Eaters secretly supported Abraham Lincoln's election to the presidency by helping to fracture the Democratic party. Fire Eaters also knew that reopening the African slave trade would ignite a national fury as the North would never agree.
One of the members of the Fire Eaters who would help bring their plan to fruition was Charles Augustus Lafayette Lamar from Savannah, Georgia.
(Image: "Cross-Section of a Slave Ship," 1828-1829, *image reference: walsh01)