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symmetric group is generated by adjacent transpositions

\documentclass{article}
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\begin{document}
\begin{thm}
The symmetric group on $\{1, 2, \ldots, n\}$ is generated by the permutations
\[
(1, 2), (2, 3), \ldots, (n-1, n).
\]
\end{thm}

\begin{proof}
We proceed by induction on $n$.  If $n = 2$, the theorem is trivially true
because the the group only consists of the identity and a single transposition.

Suppose, then, that we know permutations of $n$ numbers are generated
by transpositions of successive numbers.  Let $\phi$ be a permutation of
$\{1, 2, \ldots, n+1\}$.  If $\phi(n+1) = n+1$, then the restriction of
$\phi$ to $\{1, 2, \ldots, n\}$ is a permutation of $n$ numbers, hence,
by hypothesis, it can be expressed as a product of transpositions.

Suppose that, in addition, $\phi (n+1) = m$ with $m \neq n+1$.  Consider
the following product of transpositions:
\[
(n n+1) (n-1 n) \cdots (m+1 m+1) (m m+1)
\]
It is easy to see that acting upon $m$ with this product of transpositions
produces $+1$.  Therefore, acting upon $n+1$ with the permutation
\[
(n n+1) (n-1 n) \cdots (m+1 m+1) (m m+1) \phi
\]
produces $n+1$.  Hence, the restriction of this permutation to 
$\{1, 2, \ldots, n\}$ is a permutation of $n$ numbers, so,
by hypothesis, it can be expressed as a product of transpositions.
Since a transposition is its own inverse, it follows that
$\phi$ may also be expressed as a product of transpositions.
\end{proof}
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