The Union Is Dissolved!, 1860

Charleston Mercury, The Union Is Dissolved, December 20, 1860. (Gilder Lehrman Collection)The election of Abraham Lincoln as the sixteenth president of the United States in November 1860 led to the eventual secession of eleven slave-holding states and the formation of the Confederacy. Convinced that the federal government would initiate judicial and legal action against slavery, South Carolina became the first state to secede. Printed in Charleston, South Carolina, on December 20, 1860, this broadside announces South Carolina’s repeal of the Constitution of the United States and the state’s secession from the Union. “The Union Is Dissolved!” it declares. The Constitution of the new Confederacy would sanction the unrestricted right to hold slaves.

A full transcript is available.


Passed unanimously at 1.15 o’clock, P.M., December
20th, 1860.

To dissolve the Union between the State of South Carolina and other States united with her
under the compact entitled “The Constitution of the United States of America.”

We, the People of the State of South Carolina, in Convention assembled, do declare and ordain, and it is hereby declared and ordained,

That the Ordinance adopted by us in Convention, on the twenty-third day of May, in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and eighty-eight, whereby the Constitution of the United States of America was ratified, and also, all Acts and parts of Acts of the General Assembly of this State, ratifying amendments of the said Constitution, are hereby repealed; and that the union now subsisting between South Carolina and other States, under the name of “The United States of America,” is hereby dissolved.