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Lesson 17: How Did the Civil War Test and Transform the American Constitutional System?

Lesson Purpose

Between December 1860 and June 1861 eleven Southern states seceded from the United States and formed the Confederate States of America. The Civil War started in April 1861. The war raised several constitutional issues: the right of states to secede from the union, the president's powers in wartime, the balance between individual rights and national security, and the constitutional status of slavery in the United States. Three constitutional amendments adopted after the war defined American citizenship and transformed the relationship between the national and state governments.