Ordinance of Secession
April 17, 1861
Repeal the ratification of the Constitution of the United States of America, by
the State of Virginia, and to resume all the rights and powers granted under
people of Virginia, in their
ratification of the Constitution of the United States of America, adopted by
them in Convention, on the 25th day of June, in the year of our Lord one
thousand seven hundred and eight-eight, having declared that the powers granted
them under the said Constitution were derived from the people of the United
States, and might be resumed whensoever the same should be perverted to their
injury and oppression, and the Federal Government having perverted said powers,
not only to the injury of the people of Virginia, but to the oppression of the
Southern slaveholding States.
therefore, we, the people of Virginia,
do declare and ordain that the Ordinance adopted by the people of this State in
Convention, on the twenty-fifth day of June, in the year of our Lord one
thousand seven hundred and seventy-eight, whereby the Constitution of the United
States of America was ratified, and all acts of the General Assembly of this
State, ratifying or adopting amendments to said Constitution, are hereby
repealed and abrogated; that the union between the State of Virginia and the
other States under the Constitution aforesaid, is hereby dissolved, and that the
State of Virginia is in the full possession and exercise of all the rights of
sovereignty which belong to a free and independent State. And they do further
declare that the said Constitution of the United State of America is no longer
binding on any of the citizens of this State.
Ordinance shall take effect and be an act of this day when ratified by a
majority of the votes of the people of this State, cast at a poll to be taken
thereon on the fourth Thursday in May next, in pursuance of a schedule hereafter
to be enacted.
Done in Convention, in the city of Richmond, on the seventeenth day of April, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-one, and in the eighty-fifth year of the Commonwealth of Virginia.