December 20, 1860 – South Carolina seceded from the Union and just months later, a long, bloody war ensued. These days, there’s a lot of rhetoric coming from political-types about how this applies today.

They all tend to make claims about why South Carolina seceded – most say slavery, some say economics, some say nullification, and so on.

But, oddly enough, I have yet to see a single “historian” or op-ed on the subject (I’ve scanned through about 2 dozen of them so far) that actually asks the most important people to ask – South Carolinians from 1860.

And how does one do that? Quite simple – just read what they told us. Such as the important historical document called “Declaration of the Immediate Causes Which Induce and Justify the Secession of South Carolina from the Federal Union

It was presented by South Carolina in December 1860, but for some strange reason, as I read through op-eds by so-called civil war experts denouncing today’s “tenthers” and “nullification” – not one mentions this document. Instead, they tell US what happened.

Even though it’s short, it has two major “sections” – the first being to lay the groundwork of their view on how the union was supposed to function, including their view that secession was a proper course of action for the state. The second, was their reasons for seceding in 1860. Want to know why South Carolina seceded? Here it is – in their own words:

The General Government, as the common agent, passed laws to carry into effect these stipulations of the States. For many years these laws were executed. But an increasing hostility on the part of the non-slaveholding States to the institution of slavery, has led to a disregard of their obligations, and the laws of the General Government have ceased to effect the objects of the Constitution. The States of Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New York, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Wisconsin and Iowa, have enacted laws which either nullify the Acts of Congress or render useless any attempt to execute them [emphasis added]

What does this mean? Simple, really. South Carolina wanted to keep the institution of slavery in tact. Northern states were using nullification to resist slavery. South Carolina wrote: “For twenty-five years this agitation has been steadily increasing.”

South Carolina was in favor of people being property, and they wanted centralized control to keep that in place. The Northern States were opposed to this practice and were using states rights, the 10th Amendment – and most importantly – nullification – to reject slavery. Couldn’t be much more straightforward than that.

The Civil War was about slavery? Sure. Was it about Nullification? As South Carolina tells us – absolutely.

But the pundits and the experts have it all twisted around – backwards, actually. And they’re happy that many believe their lies and omissions. The truth? It’s the nullifiers who were the good guys because they were the ones resisting tyranny – just like today.

I guess if it were clear that all we needed to do was read what South Carolina wanted to do – from their own official document – there’d be no need to listen to the mad ramblings of the “experts” today.

Read South Carolina’s Declaration of Causes yourself – and learn the truth – here.

Michael Boldin

The 10th Amendment

“The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”



Featured Articles

On the Constitution, history, the founders, and analysis of current events.

featured articles


Tenther Blog and News

Nullification news, quick takes, history, interviews, podcasts and much more.

tenther blog


State of the Nullification Movement

232 pages. History, constitutionality, and application today.

get the report


Path to Liberty

Our flagship podcast. Michael Boldin on the constitution, history, and strategy for liberty today

path to liberty


Maharrey Minute

The title says it all. Mike Maharrey with a 1 minute take on issues under a 10th Amendment lens. maharrey minute

Tenther Essentials

2-4 minute videos on key Constitutional issues - history, and application today


Join TAC, Support Liberty!

Nothing helps us get the job done more than the financial support of our members, from just $2/month!



The 10th Amendment

History, meaning, and purpose - the "Foundation of the Constitution."

10th Amendment



Get an overview of the principles, background, and application in history - and today.