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Saber and Scroll

Abstract

When several states in the southern portion of the United States declared their secession in 1861, it was the first and only time in American history that any state actually attempted to do so. The resulting conflict wrought devastation throughout the South and engendered significant change to all levels of American society. Despite the failure of the Confederacy to secede from the Union, the question remains—why did the South think it had the legal right to secede? In exploring that question, this paper will examine the issue of secession in America and three pivotal documents in history, which when compared to each other will provide significant clues as to why the South interpreted secession as a legal right.

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