"Declaration of Immediate Causes which May Induce and Justify the Secession of South Carolina from the Federal Union," 24 December 1860

Printable PDF Version (Manuscript)

Printable PDF Version (Evans & Cogswell Printing)

Transcription

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Document Description:

David F. Jamison, President of Convention of the People of South Carolina, appointed a committee “to draft a summary statement of the causes which justify the secession of South Carolina.”  Christopher G. Memminger was part of this committee and is considered the main author of the “summary statement” that became known as the “Declaration of Immediate Causes which Induce and Justify the Secession of South Carolina.” 

Adopted on 24 December 1860, the Declaration of Immediate Causes explained why the state of South Carolina seceded from the Union.  The 7-page manuscript (also printed by the state printer, Evans & Cogswell) provided a constitutional argument for South Carolina’s right to secede from the Union and establish sovereignty as a “separate and independent State.”  Because the northern states had disregarded the fourth article of the United States Constitution to return runaway slaves, the committee argued that the federal compact was “deliberately broken.”  With the compact broken, the state of South Carolina justified its secession from the Union.

Additional explanations for South Carolina's secession can be found in Robert Barnwell Rhett's "Address to the People of the Slaveholding States." The Convention of the People of South Carolina ordered Evans & Cogswell to print 15,000 copies of Rhett's "Address" along with the Declaration of Immediate Causes. Along with the Ordinance of Secession, these key documents helped South Carolina convince her sister states in the Deep South to join in secession.

The Journal of the Convention of the People of South Carolina, published in 1862 and consisting of 888 pages, is available online with multiple options for viewing, searching, and downloading this material.

Citation:

Declaration of the Immediate Causes which Induce and Justify the Secession of South Carolina from the Federal Union.  24 December 1860. Constitutional Convention (1860-1862).  S 131055.  South Carolina Department of Archives and History, Columbia, South Carolina.

Evans & Cogswell Printing of Declaration of the Immediate Causes which Induce and Justify the Secession of South Carolina from the Federal Union.
24 December 1860. Constitutional Convention (1860-1862). S 131055. South Carolina Department of Archives and History, Columbia, South Carolina.

Correlating SC Social Studies Academic Standards:

Standard 3-4: The student will demonstrate an understanding of the events that led to the Civil War, the course of the War and Reconstruction, and South Carolina’s role in these events.

Indicator 3-4.4 Outline the course of the Civil War and South Carolina’s role in significant events, including the Secession Convention, the firing on Fort Sumter, the Union blockade of Charleston, and Sherman’s march through South Carolina.

Standard 4-6: The student will demonstrate an understanding of the Civil War and its impact on America.

Indicator 4-6.3 Explain how specific events and issues led to the Civil War, including the sectionalism fueled by issues of slavery in the territories, state’s rights, the election of 1860, and secession.

Standard 8-3: The student will demonstrate an understanding of the American Civil War—its causes and effects and the major events that occurred during that time.

Indicator 8-3.4 Compare the attitudes of the unionists, cooperationists, and secessionists in South Carolina and summarize the reasons that the members of the South Carolina secession convention in 1860 voted unanimously to secede from the Union, including concerns about states’ rights and fears about abolition.

Standard USHC-4: The student will demonstrate an understanding of the causes and the course of the Civil War and Reconstruction in America.

Indicator USHC-4.2 Explain how the political events and issues that divided the nation led to civil war, including the compromises reached to maintain the balance of free and slave states, the successes and failures of the abolitionist movement, the conflicting views on states’ rights and federal authority, the emergence of the Republican Party and its win in 1860, and the formation of the Confederate States of America.

Lessons Using This Document:

Secession: a Southern Perspective

Related Documents:

Resolution declaring Lincoln's Election a Hostile Act

South Carolina Ordinance of Secession

 

 

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