2016 Student Research Conference:
29th Annual Student Research Conference

A Club or a Nation? Confederate Usages of the Founding of America to Justify Secession
Edward C. Theobald
Dr. David Robinson and Dr. Mark Hanley, Faculty Mentors

"Now you suppose that we all join a club, a gentlemen's club. And then several of the members began to intrude themselves into our private lives. Well, then, wouldn't any one of us have the right to resign?"-Major General Pickett in the movie Gettysburg, 1993. How did the Confederacy justify leaving the Union? Was their argument for secession legitimate or based on a perverse interpretation of America?s founding documents? This project will analyze how the Confederacy exploited the political language of the nation's founding era in order to justify secession, specifically looking at the documents produced from the Revolutionary Period through the establishment of the Constitution. In these documents, one can see how Confederates might have found language to use to claim the right to secede.

Keywords: Southern Secession, Founding Fathers, U. S. Civil War, political rhetoric, U. S. history

Topic(s):History Senior Seminar

Presentation Type: Oral Paper

Session: -4
Location: MG 2090
Time: 1:45

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