Author: Christopher G. Memminger

Christopher Memminger

Born in Vaihingen an der Enz, Germany, Christopher Gustavus Memminger (1803–88) was the son of an officer in the Prince Elector’s Battalion of Foot Jaegers. When his father died shortly after his birth, Memminger’s mother immigrated with her children and her husband’s family to Charleston, South Carolina, where she soon became ill and passed away. After Memminger’s grandparents placed him in an orphanage in 1807, he drew the attention of governor-to-be Thomas Bennett and was adopted into the Bennett family. He enrolled in South Carolina College at the age of 12, graduating second in his class in 1819 and going on to study law. Memminger gained his citizenship and was admitted to the bar in 1825, becoming a successful attorney and state legislator. Although originally opposed to secession, in 1860 he changed his position, serving as a member of the convention that called for South Carolina to leave the Union. In 1861, Jefferson Davis appointed Memminger as the Confederate Secretary of the Treasury, but he was driven from office in 1864 after failed attempts to introduce direct taxation, control inflation, and maintain Confederate credit lines resulted in the collapse of the Confederate currency.

Declaration of Causes of Secession

Christopher G. Memminger

On December 20, 1860, shortly after the election of Abraham Lincoln as the 16th president of the United States, the state of South Carolina, through representatives meeting in convention in Charleston, seceded from the federal Union. Four days later, this declaration of justification was issued, drafted chiefly by Christopher G. Memminger (1803–88), future Treasury Secretary of the Confederate government.