Long before the balloting began, many Southern politicians threatened to work for the secession of their states from the United States if a Republican prevailed. They regarded the prospect of Republican rule as unacceptable. When Lincoln won a clear victory in the Electoral College, even though he received no votes at all in the lower South (and hence slightly under 40% of the national total), Southern leaders made good on their threats. On the basis of the returns depicted in this module, and well prior to Lincoln s actual inauguration as president, seven states declared their secession, thereby precipitating the gravest Constitutional crisis in U.S. history. That post-election crisis would shortly plunge the nation into the Civil War.