"The Union is Dissolved!" Broadside

Physical Description
Printed paper.
Specific History
Three days after President Lincoln’s election South Carolina seceded from the United States.The Charleston Mercury’s “The Union Is Dissolved!” broadside was the first Confederate publication, as South Carolina was the first state to secede. It went to press fifteen minutes after the secession ordinance was passed. The editors commented, “Within a very few minutes after the announcement of the secession vote, our messengers arrived . . . in less than fifteen minutes our Extras, containing the long looked for Ordinance, were being thrown off by fast presses and distributed among the eager multitude that thronged under the great banner of the ‘Southern Confederacy.’ As the brief and expressive words of the ordinance were read from our bulletin by the crowd, cheer after cheer went up in honor of the glorious event.”
General History
Broadsides (single sheets of paper usually printed on one side) served as public announcements or advertisements soon after the beginning of printing. Originally issued primarily by governmental, religious, and political bodies, broadsides were later used for advertisements, programs, notices, ballad verses, elegies, and comments on contemporary events. During wartime, one common use was for recruitment of soldiers. They were read, handed out, or posted in prominent locations and were an inexpensive way to reach a wide audience. They were created for a specific purpose and usually discarded once that purpose was accomplished. Broadsides were an important resource for many disciplines because the images and slogans provided snapshots of the events, ideas, and attitudes of their era.
Broadsides are considered “ephemera,” meaning they were produced with no intention of preservation. Most were posted and then discarded when they had served their purpose. That is what makes so many broadsides rare, if not unique.
Currently not on view
Object Name
date made
Associated Date
Physical Description
paper (overall material)
ink (overall material)
overall: 55.0164 cm x 32.1564 cm; 21 11/16 in x 12 11/16 in
Place Made
United States: South Carolina, Charleston
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
Communication, broadsides
Civil War
Civil War and Reconstruction
See more items in
Armed Forces History: Armed Forces History, General
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center

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