The Southern Democrats reacted badly to the Abolitionist Republicans winning the federal election of 1860. They saw the incoming government as at war with their entire lifestyle, and though Lincoln promised not to start a war or infringe on their States’ rights, they struck out at the incoming administration and any who supported it with every weapon at their disposal. They took possession of federal forts and weapons caches throughout The South, and raised an army of their own to stand against any potential Union attack. Texas passed a law to conscript all able-bodied men, unless they owned fifteen or more slaves, into the military, and began hunting down those who refused to sign up. Thousands of Texans, including some entire colonies, traveled north or south across the borders into Union or Mexican lands to flee the forced conscriptions, and army units were sent to hunt them down. They were treated as deserters and sometimes shot on the spot. Others received a hearing in court before their hanging. It was a bad time to be someone who did not toe the party line and do as they were told.