During the Winter of Secession, just prior to Lincoln's assumption of power, President Buchanan passed away. Vice President Breckinridge assumed the Acting Presidency. Acting President Breckinridge would proceed to undermine any prospect of reclamation of the seven rebel states and Arizona. Desperate to avoid bloodshed, he withdraw federal forces from the south and left behind all equipment, supplies, and weapons caches. He allowed state militias to be returned to their governors. Most dangerously of all, he instructed the Secretary of State to treat the representatives of the Confederacy comparably to foreign dignitaries (though not quite recognize the secession). By the time Lincoln was President, foreign nations had taken Breckinridge's lead and recognized the Confederacy. Upon Lincoln's calling of volunteers, five more states seceded and the risk of foreign intervention loomed. Lincoln ultimately made a fateful decision: in exchange for recognition of the already seceded states and territories, the Confederacy was to abandon all claim to Virginia, North Carolina, Arkansas, Tennessee, and Kentucky. Lincoln's administration would be defined by the reconquest of the upper south and ultimate ending of slavery, but he would not see the day that the Union would be fully restored. Breckinridge ultimately fled south and became Second President of the Confederate States. What if James Buchanan hadn't passed and Breckinridge hadn't screwed the union?