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Constitutional FAQ Answer #122

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Q122. "I have been told that there is a section of the Constitution that talks about dividing existing states and how it cannot happen. Can you help me find this article?"

A. Article 4, Section 3 deals with this issue. It says that no state may be created from within the boundaries of an existing state unless the existing state agrees to the division. West Virginia was created from within the borders of Virginia during the Civil War when unionists declared that the state legislature was invalid and they convened their own legislature, which the United States recognized. This new legislature approved the division of Virginia into Virginia and West Virginia. This is the only such time that this provision of the Constitution has been put into effect as of this writing.

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