The Southern Baptist Convention was organized on May 8-12, 1845 in Augusta, Georgia, with the constitution being adopted on May the 10th. Dr. W. B. Johnson, of South Carolina, was elected President of the Convention and many of his ideas for a tighter denominational structure prevailed. These southern and western churches separated from the General Missionary Convention of the Baptist Denomination in the United States for Foreign Missions (whew! also known as the Triennial Convention because it met every 3 years). Though much regional wrangling existed from the time of the Triennial Convention's organization in 1814, the immediate cause of division among the Baptists in the United States was that of slavery. When the national government of the United States was formed, slavery does not appear to have been a divisive issue, and it was evidently not terribly divisive in 1814. As the years progressed, slavery issues became more and more of a problem for American Baptists. One should be aware that there were Southerners that were opposed to slavery, Northerners that were slaveholders, and a lot of Baptists that did not want the issue to be inserted into denominational concerns. But slavery would increasingly become a regional issue and abolitionist agitation would continually bring slavery to the forefront. The events most directly connected with the formation of the Southern Baptist Convention are the "Reeve Case" and the "Alabama Resolutions." The American Baptist Home Mission Society supposedly operated under a theory of neutrality on slavery, but since some leaders of the Society were engaged in abolitionist activity, many Southerners did not believe they were sincere. To test this, Georgia Baptists (in 1844) sent the name of James E. Reeve, a slaveholder, to the Home Mission Board to be appointed as a missionary in the South (and specifically noted on the application that he was a slaveholder). The board declined to act on Reeve's appointment on the basis of (or under the guise of) the neutrality agreement - that to act on a case which deliberately introduced the issue of slavery would violate neutrality. In all fairness to the board, regardless of their inner motives, they were in a no win situation. In any action, they would either anger brethren in the North or brethren in the South. The Alabama State Convention, aroused by the Reeve case, adopted several resolutions demanding of the Board of the Triennial Convention whether slaveholders could be appointed as missionaries. The answer of the Board would be the straw that broke the camel's back - "If...one should offer himself as a Missionary, having slaves, and should insist on retaining them as his property, we could not appoint him. One thing is certain; we could never be a party to any arrangement which would imply approbation of slavery." Again, in fairness to the Foreign Mission Board, if nothing else they probably understood that their answer would cause either division between the Baptists North & South, or else it would cause division among themselves in the North. Lost in the slavery issue, though, is the fact that there were regional differences, unrelated to slavery, that caused dissension in the Triennial Convention almost from its very inception. There were complaints in the South and West that the convention was not meeting their needs, and at least as early as 1835 there was a call for a separate convention. The Triennial Convention was formed as a foreign missions convention, yet in 1817 (largely due to strong southern leadership) home missions and education were put under its umbrella. Meetings in southern and central states, and powerful voices such as Richard Furman of South Carolina, led to growth that tended to make the Convention a general denominational body. But in 1826 the Convention was returned to its original design. This was largely due to northern Baptists getting the meeting moved to New York and packing it with their delegates. Headquarters were moved to Boston. Political maneuvering is not new to Baptists in the U. S. Events such as these led to such a foundation for division that Leon McBeth said, "The 1826 revision to a society basis had far-reaching consequences. Baptists North and South were committed to different patterns of work which would make continuing cooperation almost impossible. While slavery was the major factor in the 1845 schism, the events of 1826 paved the way for division and probably made schism inevitable (The Baptist Heritage, p. 360). [bold emphasis added, rlv] I think there were four major contributing factors to this Baptist schism resulting in the formation of the Southern Baptist Convention:  different opinions on organizational structure;  complaints from different regions that mission work in their area was being neglected (whether real or imagined);  a sense in certain regions that they had little or no voice in the Society (Triennial Convention) and Board deliberations; and  slavery (being the final straw for both sides). It should be added that while the schism between the Triennial Convention and the Southern Baptist Convention represented a schism of the majority of Baptists in the United States, it did not include all the Baptists of the United States, only those who were involved in these missionary enterprises. Other groups, such as the Primitive Baptists, would have no need to divide over the issue until after 1860, and then only because they had to "choose a country."