President Lincoln did not believe that states had a right to secede and that the Confederate states never  left the Union, they were simply in rebellion. For that reason he did not ask Congress for a declaration of war, he just did what he thought was necessary to quell the insurrection.

When the southern states walked out of Congress , their seats in the House of Representatives and Senate were vacated, but not dissolved.

After the bloody conflict between the states had ended,  the 13th Amendment was proposed and the states  that had been in rebellion were forced to ratify the amendment to abolish slavery.

The state and the date they ratified the 13th Amendment is list below and when they were officially re-admitted to the Union.

  1. Virginia: February 9, 1865                     Re-Admitted on Jan. 26, 1870
  2. Louisiana: February 17, 1865                Re-Admitted on February 23, 1870  
  3. Tennessee: April 7, 1865                        Re-Admitted on June 25, 1868
  4. Arkansas: April 14, 1865                       Re-Admitted on July 13, 1868 
  5. South Carolina  November 13, 1865     Re-Admitted on July 9,1868
  6. Alabama: December 2, 1865                 Re-Admitted on July 13, 1868
  7. North Carolina: December 4, 1865       Re-Admitted on July 4, 1868   
  8. Georgia: December 6, 1865                  Re-admitted on July 15, 1870

If the Southern States never left the union, why did they need to be re-admitted?

As Southern states applied for readmission to the Union, they were required to submit state constitutions that ratified the Thirteenth, Fourteenth, and Fifteenth Amendments. Grant also kept soldiers in the former Confederacy until they complied.

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