"An Ordinance to dissolve the Union between the State of South Carolina and other States," or the South Carolina Ordinance of Secession, 20 December 1860
After Abraham Lincoln was elected President in early November 1860, the South Carolina State Legislature called for elections to a state convention to be held on December 17th. On December 20th, all 169 delegates to the convention voted for secession against Republican Presidential leadership on matters of race, economics, and politics. This document states that South Carolina has repealed the Constitution and its amendments and disassociated itself from the United States of America.
The convention would also draft the “Declaration of Immediate Causes” explaining exactly why the state seceded, and “The Address to the People of South Carolina . . .” outlining the erosion of the Union and calling for a confederacy of southern states.
Constitutional Convention (1860-1862). South Carolina Ordinance of Secession, 20 December 1860. Constitutional and Organic Papers. S 131053. South Carolina Department of Archives and History, Columbia, South Carolina.
The State of South CarolinaAt a Convention of the People of the State of South Carolina, begun and holden at Columbia on the Seventeenth day of December in the year or our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty and thence continued by adjournment to Charleston, and there by divers adjournments to the Twentieth day of December in the same year –
An Ordinance 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 herby 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 eight eight, whereby the Constitution of the United State of America was ratified, and also all Acts and parts of Acts of the General Assembly of this State, ratifying amendment of the said Constitution, are here by repealed; and that the union now subsisting between South Carolina and other States, under the name of “The United States of America,” is hereby dissolved.
Done at Charleston, the twentieth day of December, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty
[signed] D.F. Jamison Delegate from Barnwell and
President of the Convention
[signatures of delegates to the convention]
Attest: Benj. J. Arthur, Clerk of the Convention
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.