Yancey, William Lowndes (1814–1863), a Confederate political leader. He was a fiery orator, unyielding in his support of slavery and the South's right to secede. At the Democratic National Convention of 1860, he made an eloquent speech for the Southern cause. When Northern Democrats rejected his program, he led most of the Southern delegates out of the convention. In 1861 Yancey wrote the Alabama ordinance of secession. He served in the Confederate Senate during the last year of his life.
Yancey was born in Warren County, Georgia. He spent most of his boyhood in Troy, New York, where his stepfather, the Rev. Nathan Beman, was active in the antislavery movement. Yancey shared his stepfather's antislavery views even after he returned to the South in 1833. After marrying the daughter of a wealthy plantation owner, he moved to Alabama in 1837. There he bought a plantation and two newspapers and became a strong advocate of states' rights and slavery. He served in the Alabama legislature, 1841–44. He was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1844; he resigned in 1846 to devote his time to speaking out against abolition.