Prior to the Charleston convention, Democrats in Alabama called their own convention to select delegates. Many Alabamians remained skeptical of the radical southerners who talked of disunion. And a March 14 article in the Southern Advocate—a Huntsville newspaper sympathetic to the Democratic Party and national compromise—implored local Democrats to “stand firmly by their principles, and not choose their leaders from among the rancorous enemies of their party.” Recognizing that the Democratic Party had “always been the advocate of the rights of the South,” the article reminded its readers that the “good of the country requires that the organization of the Democratic party should be maintained unbroken and entire.” Despite pleas from cooperationist Alabamians, lawyer William Yancey of Montgomery used his political clout to ensure that the selected delegates agreed with his radical position. By April Yancey, radical delegates in tow, arrived in South Carolina ready to push a platform and a candidate sympathetic to slaveholding states through the convention. It appeared to many that southern fire-eaters were determined to provoke a revolt of the slaveholding states at any cost; Yancey’s platform offered no room for compromise. Continuing to tout his Alabama Platform—which assured that the federal government would protect the institution of slavery—Yancey convinced radical delegates from Alabama, Mississippi, and South Carolina to walk out of the national convention and sever their ties with the Democratic Party should the national party fail to bow to southern interests. When the votes had been tallied, and a majority of the party failed to adopt the southern platform, radical delegates rose and seceded from the convention.
Back in Alabama, many people expressed anger and exasperation with the radical behavior of Yancey and his followers. A month after the convention, the May 30 Southern Advocate characterized the seceders as “that class of men who are radical, suspicious, uncompromising, and impracticable,” and it continued to predict that even if these men “had a separate Southern Confederacy of their own,” within a generation, new dissensions among their successors would spawn “another secession and a dissolution movement.” Secession seemed impractical and ill-fated, and many Alabamians searched for an alternative to Yancey’s radicalism as spring faded into summer.