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Was the Declaration of Independence Illegal?

October 24, 2011

At a mock event in Philadelphia, a few British and American lawyers argued the question:

The event, presented by the Temple American Inn of Court in conjunction with Gray’s Inn, London, pitted British barristers against American lawyers to determine whether or not the American colonists had legal grounds to declare secession…

To the British, however, secession isn’t the legal or proper tool by which to settle internal disputes. “What if Texas decided today it wanted to secede from the Union? Lincoln made the case against secession and he was right,” they argue in their brief.

We agree with the British in these pages that it was secession. But, if you read our July 4th secession week blogging, we disagree that the grievances listed in the Declaration were too trivial to justify secession.

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  1. Newsletter, November 2011

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