In the wake of the last election, there have been petitions to secede from the Union filed in twenty states, oddly not all of them “Red” states. I read the story in Yahoo News.

In the wake of last week’s presidential election, thousands of Americans have signed petitions seeking permission for their states to peacefully secede from the United States. The petitions were filed on We the People, a government website.

States with citizens filing include Alabama, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oregon, South Carolina, Tennessee and Texas. Oddly, folks from Georgia have filed twice. Even stranger, several of the petitions come from states that went for President Barack Obama.

The petitions are short and to the point. For example, a petition from the Volunteer State reads: “Peacefully grant the State of Tennessee to withdraw from the United States of America and create its own NEW government.” Of all the petitions, Texas has the most signatures so far, with more than 23,000.

Of course, this is mostly a symbolic gesture. The odds of the American government granting any state permission to go its own way are on par with winning the lottery while getting hit by a meteor while seeing Bigfoot while finding gluten-free pizza that tastes like the real thing.

Didn’t we settle this matter about one hundred fifty years ago in the Civil War? If the North’s victory didn’t settle it, than the Supreme Court ruling of Texas vs White declared that secession was illegal and that the Constitution nowhere gave the states the right to leave the Union.

The Federal government isn’t likely to grant any of these petitions, no matter how many people sign them, and in fact cannot allow any state to leave the union these petitions are worthless, except as a means of demonstrating discontent. The only was for any state to secede would be for the state government to mobilize the National Guard and win independence. I doubt that will happen anytime soon.

Still, maybe I should sign the petition. I wouldn’t mind seeing my native state of Indiana join the family of nations as a free and independent country.


6 thoughts on “Secession”

  1. The gestures would be more than symbolic. At this point, with a major issue like slavery not in the foreground, refusing to allow peaceful secession would be a nightmare for the federal government, especially if 2/5ths of the union wanted to secede. Any attempt to militarily prevent secession would be viewed as dictatorial even by most people opposed to secession, and would likely lead to international intervention.

    Unless the federal government WANTS to start WWIII, they don’t have a choice.


  2. Right now there are not enough people advocating this to be taken seriously. But the federal government legally can’t allow any state to secede peacefully, at present since the constitution does not include any method for a state to leave the union. This was the issue back in 1860.


  3. I would kind of like to see what would happen economically as little countries break away from the powerful coalition that the federal government manages. Texas might do ok, if oil companies do not a) abandon them or b) take them over. Louisiana . . .well . . .that would be interesting to see. Would the states try to band together to form smaller united states(es)? Would we end up with a ton of little third-world countries? Would loyalists abandon a seceding state by the droves creating a refugee problem for the remaining union and depopulating the secessionist states? Very curious to see what would happen.


    1. I am curious too but I hope I don’t find out.
      You might see people moving to the secessionist states if they offered an attractive enough environment. I think if the former Confederate states were to resurrect the Confederacy, it would be have a higher economic growth rate and a more favorable climate for business than the states of the rust belt. Any seceding state probably would create federations with other states and I would imagine that eventually you would see some kind of North American free trade organization.
      There was a book out, about 30 years ago called the Nine Nations of North American in which the author argued that in terms of culture and the economy, there were in fact nine nations not three in North America. You might see fractures along those lines.


  4. Even without current legislation available for secession, a government cannot hold onto territory in an area where the population does not want to be governed. If it refuses to allow secession after the majority vote for secession, it then becomes an illegal occupation, one that can legally be violently resisted. If a civil war started up, there are plenty of nations that would find a fractured USA very preferable, and would aid the secessionists.

    It means that the federal government would have no choice but to withdraw.


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