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Do states have the right to secede?

That is one of the questions currently being discussed in the U.S. History to 1865 class that I am taking. The vast majority of the class feels that states do not have the right to secede under any circumstances. That makes me sad. When the majority of the population of any geographic area is no longer being served by the dominant government, then citizens not only have a right to secede, they have a moral obligation to do so.

There are two major facets to the secession question: 1) morality and 2) self-interest. These two items do not necessarily align with one another. When the U.S. Civil War began, the rationale for war on both sides was highly complicated. The North entered the war for two primary reasons: 1) Keeping the Union from dissolving by force and 2) forcing the issue of slavery. The first reason was immoral and the second was moral. Yet the first reason was Abraham Lincoln’s primary reason for using force to bring the Confederacy back into the Union. Lincoln felt slavery was morally wrong, but he did not declare war because of slavery. He declared war because he believed the federal government should be the highest authority in the land, and that states had no right to self-determination. Abolition was not his primary goal. Lincoln himself said this:

I will say then that I am not, nor ever have been, in favor of bringing about in any way the social and political equality of the white and black races – that I am not, nor ever have been, in favor of making voters or jurors of Negroes, nor of qualifying them to hold office, nor to intermarry with white people; and I will say in addition to this that there is a physical difference between the white and black races which I believe forever forbid the two races living together on terms of social and political equality. And in as much as they cannot so live, while they do remain together there must be the position of superior and inferior, and I as much as any other man am in favor of having the superior position assigned to the white race.

Some Southerners, to be sure, fought in the Civil War to preserve the immoral institution of human slavery, but many enlisted in the war effort because they felt that the North was trying to dictate how they should live.

The outcome of the Civil War was never really in doubt. The North had vast superiority in numbers and had the industrial base. Technology is amoral, and the North held the technology – it was therefore destined for victory. While the end of the war settled the question of slavery, it did not grant equality to blacks. That issue would not be settled for another one hundred years, when the Civil Rights movement of the 1960′s forced Americans to reexamine racial inequalities in their society.

What the Civil War did accomplish was the growth of government, and the mitigation of liberty for all American citizens and residents. From the end of the war until the present day, the Federal government’s role in decision making for all Americans has grown to the point where a large segment of the American population is completely or partially dependent on theft by taxes for its well-being.

Back to the original question, though! Do states have a right to secede? What circumstances, if any, justify a declaration that a state no longer wishes to be a part of the union called the United States of America?

Comments

Kitanis
Reply

There is nothing in the Constitution about rights of the states in the first place.

There is Article I, Section 10 of the document provides the powers forbidden to the states which prohibits private money, raising armed forces and entering private treaties with foreign nations etc.

But its a interesting question. There really is nothing in the document that says a state can not secede from the union. But saying that every state is dependent on the federal government for allot of tax money for their budgets and programs. I would imagine that there would be a large outcry if a state attempted to do it today.

Trevor
Reply

The Constitution may not directly address the right of states to secede but the Declaration of Independence addresses the right of individuals to band together and do so.

slantedplanet
Reply

Maybe so, but this is one pissed-off Texan who would like to try it.

Ann W
Reply

This is one pissed off Alabamian that would join you!!

Gringo_Malo
Reply

I can make a case for secession based on the 10th amendment. You know, the amendment that got tossed out the window in the ’30s, “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.”

The Constitution does not forbid the states to secede, nor does it empower Congress to wage war upon a state that secedes. Therefore, the 10th amendment implicitly authorizes states to secede.

The president does have power to suppress insurrections, but when a state votes to leave the Union in the same orderly manner in which it entered, it’s hardly an insurrection. Lincoln’s actions were entirely illegal. He should have been shot before the 1860 election.

Some of the books I’ve read suggest that the Yankee government could not afford to let the southern states secede. Most of the government’s revenue was supplied by tariffs. The South imported more goods from Britain and Europe, and therefore paid the lion’s share of the tariffs.

I can’t answer for slantedplanet, but I would hope that a secessionist Republic of Texas would control its borders and abolish socialism. Neither of those things will happen under our present federal government.

Ironically, nowadays any state able to obtain control of nuclear weapons within its borders could secede with impunity. You might have noticed that the Bush administration has invaded Iraq and is rattling its saber at Iran, but has done and will do nothing to North Korea. North Dakota could become the principal nuclear power on the planet if a sufficient number of its citizens were so inclined.

SK
Reply

Interesting question Trevor. I’m just not certain of the answer, but this does make one ponder.

AM
Reply

Once part of the United States the individuals are citizens of this country and their territory is not separate from the unified country. A “state” is not a nation state and part of a club, but a jurisdiction which is part of the United States of America.

Indivisible.

Trevor
Reply

Indivisible is only any good if you can keep the rebellion down.

Dale
Reply

The Civil War said ‘no’. I am thinking this is a settled issue.
The government of the United States will never permit a peaceful secession. So whether it is legally possible or not, the answer is still ‘no’.

Trevor
Reply

Dale,

Someone will force the issue sooner or later. A nation cannot keep pretending to be the land of the free forever. The reality doesn’t match the rhetoric. We have 280 million people and 2.2 million of them in prison. China has 1.2 billion people and only 1.6 million in prison. Not gonna work.

Gringo_Malo
Reply

Trevor,

As Dale said, the quesiton of secession was decided by force in the 1860s. I agree with you that the question was not settled for all time. Anyone can appeal to force any time he feels lucky.

As for prison populations, according to the Department of Justice, “At yearend 2005 there were 3,145 black male sentenced prison inmates per 100,000 black males in the United States, compared to 1,244 Hispanic male inmates per 100,000 Hispanic males and 471 white male inmates per 100,000 white males.” Like the statistics on illiteracy, the statistics on our prison population might simply reflect our large minority population. China has fewer prisioners because it doesn’t have our minorities.

In any case, Americans won’t revolt because their freedoms are diminished. As long as they have a car, a place to live, and a TV to follow the antics of Paris Hilton, the American sheeple will be content.

Gringo_Malo
Reply

Trevor,

Dale is correct that the issue was settled by force in the 1860s, but you and Jefferson Davis are correct that, “A question settled by force of arms remains forever unsettled.” Anyone can resort to force at any time.

America’s large prison population does not imply that America is not free. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, “On June 30, 2006, an estimated 4.8% of black men were in prison or jail, compared to 1.9% of Hispanic men and 0.7% of white men.” As in the case of illiteracy, the statistics merely indicate that we have a large minority population. China has a lower prison population because it’s populated almost exclusively by Chinese, but America is certainly more free than China, this week.

I doubt that any state will secede in the near future. I expect that our socialist government will collapse economically, as socialist governments are wont to do. I can’t predict what might happen after that.

Trevor
Reply

Gringo,

For some reason my blog has been tagging some of your posts as spam. I apologize, and I’ve been retagging them. My anti-spam tools are supposed to “learn.” Hopefully, you’ll become a safe poster in those routines shortly.

As to the likelihood of revolution, I think it’s high, whether from without or within. And yes, it’s more likely to be primarily economic.

Of course, change in human societies has thus far always been accompanied by some level of violence. I don’t expect this century to usher in a new era of peace for the world.

Bryan Iehl
Reply

An estimated 25 million non-custodial parents in the Unites States with restricted access to their children and forced into a system of indentured servitude to their estranged families, a system which unquestionably violates the Geneva Convention on Slavery.

Anyone need a better reason to secede?

anonymous
Reply

FREEDOM! the right to seceded is a freedom and anyone who use force to impose and idea on someone else is a tyrant.

sic semper tyrannis!

john wilkes booth was justified and abe lincoln was wrong

snowbrdgrl
Reply

1.)The 10th Amendment and 2.)”That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these Ends, it is in the Right of the People to alter or abolish it, and to institute a new Government, laying its Foundation on such Principles, and organizing its Powers in such Form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. ” New Hampshire’s Constitution guarantees its citizens the right to rebellion, in Article 10 of the constitution’s Bill of Right’s:
Whenever the ends of government are perverted, and public liberty manifestly endangered, and all other means of redress are ineffectual, the people may, and of right ought to reform the old, or establish a new government. The doctrine of nonresistance against arbitrary power, and oppression, is absurd, slavish, and destructive of the good and happiness of mankind.
The Kentucky Constitution also guarantees a right of revolution in Section 1 of the Bill of Rights.
All power is inherent in the people, and all free governments are founded on their authority and instituted for their peace, safety, happiness and the protection of property. For the advancement of these ends, they have at all times an inalienable and indefeasible right to alter, reform or abolish their government in such manner as they may deem properAll states shouldn’t have to have this in their own Constitution, but sure wish mine had it!No debate here! ‘Nuff said.

PatriotofPast
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I agree with Snowbrdgrl 100%. The United States of America is made of of 50 INDIVIDUAL STATES, each with its OWN CONSTITUTIONS. The United States is a UNION!!! And as a Union its members HAVE A RIGHT TO VOTE FOR ITS BEST INTEREST. When the Federal Govt. STOPS DOING ITS JOB, it is up to the Individual State to take WHATEVER ACTION NEEDED that is in the BEST INTEREST of ITS PEOPLE!

Amy
Reply

To secede or not to secede? That is the question.

Delrio Demon
Reply

Many people today share the view that the Confederacy committed treason by it’s peaceful secession from the rest of the states. This is because its the winners that get to write the history. I doubt that any of the states will attempt to leave the union again, but Texas would have a pretty good shot at it, if it wanted to. :p
 
 
I agree that slavery=bad, but at the time, it was legal, and also found in the ‘good’ north, as in the ‘evil’ south. Many people assign the tag ‘racist’ to me, just because of my geographic origin, and not by my actions or beliefs.  I’m sure that the girls that showed up at my daughters birthday would be surprised at me being pegged as a racist, because they all happened to be of African decent…
In the meantime, the American people will be content to swallow any rewritten history that our public schools and public opinion will shove down their throats. Just as long as our Big Brother government provides them with “Bread and Circuses”.

Ed
Reply

Did the US colonies have the right to secede from England? I would say yes.

Most people don’t recognize the similarities between 1776 and 1861, but they’re quite comparable. In both cases, one part of a country thought they were getting shafted economically, and so they broke away. In both cases, the people on both sides of the conflict viewed themselves as coming from a single national culture (the colonists thought of themselves as Englishmen, and the confederacy thought of themselves as Americans).

And in case the issue of slavery is confusing things for you, remember that in both cases the breakaway region owned slaves.

So why were the American revolutionaries right and the southern confederacy wrong? Only because that’s how it’s taught in schools…

Yoshi99
Reply

Ed — who, exactly, is teaching that the “southern confederacy [was] wrong?”  Can you point to any actual academic text that says that?  I’d be really interested in seeing that kind of bold statement in print, mainly because I would’ve expected my Georgia relatives would’ve plastered it on posterboard and stuck it on the side of their houses with all their other pro-Confederacy minutae if they could find such a thing.  I went to school in several states, and the spiel I always got was:  1) the South seceded to protect its states’ rights, 2) the federal government (via the non-seceding states) started the Civil War, 3) the federal government eventually broke the back of the Confederate Army and destroyed much of the south’s social and economic institutions in the process, and 4) after the war, slavery was abolished.  If something different is being taught today, I’d be interested to see the texts espousing such a view (please note that anecdotes that start with “I have a friend” or “my cousin” aren’t helpful).
In any event, the issue of the “right” to secede is largely a rhetorical one (along the lines of “if we were to fight the Civil War today, who would win?”).  The Constitution simply doesn’t address the issue. 

The common interpretation of the Constitution is that the federal government is one of enumerated powers … that is, it has the powers explicitly set out in the Constitution.  The 10th Amendment says everything else goes to the states.  Someone above said that amendment was “tossed out the window” in the 1930s, but that’s not true — the Supreme Court regularly invokes the 10th Amendment, stating that a wide variety of issues are controlled by state, not federal, law and principles.  Anyway, history seems to show that the drafters of the Constitution thought of the Constitution as somewhat of an experiment, and that several states expressed reservations about making the Constitution “permanent” — they wanted to be able to leave if it didn’t work out.  In a nutshell, that’s your “legal” case for secession. 

The case against it?  Strict constructionists like Nino Scalia and Clarence Thomas would tell you what the states and the drafters thought at the time was irrelevant.  Their intent is meaningless — you have to look at the wording of the Constitution, and that’s it.  Using that as a standard, one would have to have a very vivid imagination to find something in the 10th Amendment granting a “right” to not adhere to the Constitution.  After all, the entire Bill of Rights describes rights that must be afforded to people — it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to say you can dictate all these rights (to the people) on one hand, and then let state governments choose to ignore all of them on the other.

I suppose reasonable minds can differ on how that debate should come out.  Lord knows enough ink has been spilled over the issue.  But the reality is this:  the composition of a state or country or whatever is a political issue.  And what is “legal” when it comes to political issues like this is irrelevant.  I mean, just where would one go to get a ruling on such a “right?”  The International Criminal Court?  (We aren’t members)  The U.N.?  (not likely)  Some county court in Kansas? 

This is the quintessential Marbury v. Madison question:  who will enforce this “right?”  The answer, in this case, is:  nobody — the issue will be decided politically.  And remember that Sun Tzu accurately pointed out that war is politics by other means.  A state secedes and the larger state either allows it peacefully (think Hungary) or goes to war over it (think Kurds in Iraq).  Is it “legal?”  Was going to war in Korea legal?  Vietnam?  Iraq?  Does it matter to anyone but academic head-scratchers?  No, it doesn’t.  If South Dakota decides to secede, no one will ever care if they have a legal right to do so — the issue will be whether or not the federal government launches a war to suppress the revolution, and, if so, who wins the fight.  It isn’t like some judge is going to issue a ruling on the legality of it all.  And even if some judge did, no one would really expect anyone to actually listen to that judge (just look at the controversy around most of our Supreme Court decisions).  It all comes down to whether a political agreement is brokered or the decision is made through a contest of force.  If South Dakota wins, the nation becomes one of 49 states.  If the state loses, we go back to business as usual (that is, we debate the “legality” of it all … even though the debate is irrelevant for all intents and purposes … for the next 200 years).

The South seceded (legally or otherwise) and the North imposed its will by force (legally or otherwise).  We can debate the merits of that until the cows come home, but as I implied above:  that’s nothing more than junior high debate-team fodder.  I mean, what if Katrina hadn’t broke the levees?  What if Chamberlain’s appeasement worked?  What if we won the Korean War?  Was there an international legal principle justifying apartheid?

Who cares.

You can only dissect these issues so far.  In the end, it just doesn’t matter.  The Confederacy was wiped out more than a century ago, we don’t have slavery anymore, we aren’t part of England, no state is even discussing the possibility of seceding (cut off those highway $$$?  no way!), and the Civil War gets about 2 hours worth of discussion in any high schoolers’ education.  Yes, a lot of people died, but it’s over.  It’s done.   The southerners are the biggest “proudtobeanAmerican” flag wavers we’ve got in this country.  It’s time to just get over it and move on.

__

I do have to note that the states probably wouldn’t get much use out of the nuclear weapons on their soil — the folks guarding them are federal troops, only the feds have the launch codes, and (assuming the state respects the rule of law) those bases are on exclusive federal jurisdiction property.  The airmen guarding the silos are just as likely from New York and Vermont as they are from Alabama, so you can’t really expect them to just throw down their guns and say, “Heck, ya!  I wanna secede!”  Remember they’re being paid by the feds …

And for Bryan, above:  The kid is yours, and you have a responsibility to care for him/her.  Pay your child support and quit bellyaching about it.  If you didn’t want to support a child, then you should have used a condom.  I highly doubt you’ll get any support from the former Confederate states on this issue, because having — and supporting — a kid is all about (hello) personal responsibility.

Yoshi99
Reply

That reference to Sun Tzu should be Karl Clausewitz.  Sorry.

PDXRover
Reply

Here’s my 2 cents on the issue.
 
The decision of the North to not allow secession was not a matter of economics or some moral obligation to curtail slavery.  The real issue (in my opinion) was a more basic idea: the preservation of the United States.  Not in a geographic sense, but the preservation of the very existence of the U.S. itself.  Its power.
 
To allow the secession of states which disagree with the result of a fair and undisputed election (i.e. Abraham Lincoln) is to allow any state to override the authority of the U.S. Government whenever it chooses.  Allowing Southern secession would set a precedent that would undoubtedly lead to the unraveling of the remaining states.   If Montana disapproved of Roe v. Wade . . . secede.
 
The southern states claimed that they had the right, since the “states” had created the Federal government, to overturn any federal law within their own borders if they disagreed with it.  The federal government, on the other hand, thought that the interpretation and judgment of laws should be left to the Supreme Court.
 
Regardless of right or wrong, legal or illegal, allowing secession is a risky move; the North just happened to come out on top.  Had the South won the civil war, they would not have been able to justify trying to stop any state inside the CSA from seceding in the future (since that’s how they came to exist), thus securing for themselves the same fate bestowed upon the USA. 
 
I believe that, had the South won, there would not be any United States, or Confederate States, in existence today.  We would have long ago been reclaimed by Europe as our own internal squabbles eroded our power base and left us vulnerable to foreign influence or attack.

Trevor
Reply

Thoughtful comment but I have a point of contention – fair and undisputed is clearly inaccurate. The election was clearly disputed or there wouldn’t have been a civil war.

I am dubious that we would have been “reclaimed” by Europe, at least long term. How many European colonies exist in 2008, worldwide?

PDXRover
Reply

Quote from Trevor

“fair and undisputed is clearly inaccurate. The election was clearly disputed or there wouldn’t have been a civil war.”

That is not entirely correct. The election results themselves were not disputed. The South had long standing grievences against the North and the results of the election of 1860 were just the straw that broke the camel’s back. The election was fairly held.

The secession (not to trivialize the matter) was a lot like the idea of a kid who “takes his ball and goes home” when he loses at basketball. This is obviously an over-generalization and is only intended make my point about the election of 1860.

And I think you are correct that we may not have been “reclaimed” by Europe. But I have a feeling that Canada would be alot bigger today. :)

Trevor
Reply

PDX,

Assuming you buy into democracy as a valid system of governance then yes, the election of 1860 was a “fair” election.

However, if 6 people vote to kill 3 and take their property, I advise the 3 to fight the election results. I’m fairly certain that’s how a lot of Southerners were feeling in 1860.

It’s a complicated issue, particularly when the slavery issue gets brought into it. Over the years I’ve come to feel that we traded chattel slavery of dark skinned people for economic slavery of everyone.

I’m still thinking it over though. Thinking about freedom and the nature of government is probably a lifelong project.

PDXRover
Reply

Fair enough,

I won’t try to speculate on the validity of democracy as a form of government; its what we have and, until that changes, we need to play by the rules. Unfortunately (or perhaps fortunately) the “rules” are usually dictated by those that have more resources (money, guns, people, whatever).

It’s not always fair, but if enough of us dislike things we can change them, and that is something special indeed.

Trevor
Reply

I usually play by the rules. However, I reserve the right to ignore the rules when the rules are in opposition to my life, liberty and pursuit of happiness.

If God only dictated ten rules to follow, Congress does nothing to engender respect for rules by writing volumes of gibberish every time it convenes.

I have to go with my conscience over Congress. If we must agree on rules to follow – the rules of the land – I’ll accept the spirit of the Constitution as my guide.

PDXRover

Well said, and not at all unlike the reasoning for secession. The “spirit of the Constitution” is a noble term (and one that I think we can all agree on), however, where we run into problems is when we try to decide who interperates that “spirit”. The Constsution is vague and our problems are specific.

That being said, nothing in my origianl post should be construed to mean that I do not understand, or even sypathize with, the feelings of Southerners during secession. I was simply offering my opinion on why the North may have felt that allowing seccession was not a viable option.

Trevor

Ultimately I’ve come to believe that only I can interpret right and wrong. I realize this means others will judge me.

Freedom is a state of mind. Political systems exist to serve those with power. Power engenders choice. Choice equates to freedom. It all gets complicated.

The bottom line is that I want to live in a society that breeds, fosters, encourages, values and rewards independent constructive creativity.

Change you can believe in is long overdue, and Obama is going to be a huge disappointment to most of his acolytes.

SC
Reply

We should have the right to secede, although the punishment that would be enforced upon any state doing so by the rest of the republic would probably unbearable.

Although the whole concept of “what about all the money states get from the federal government” is moot, because all the money the federal government gets comes from forced taxation upon citizens of a state, so in reality if we were taxed the same amount and it went directly to our states we would probably have more money because less would be wasted in overhead.

and to “I won’t try to speculate on the validity of democracy as a form of government; its what we have and”, you should know we don’t have a Democracy, we have a constitutional Republic, that allows for a Democratic process in many of our elections. None the less we aren’t completely ruled by the majority or those in power but by what the constitution says and allows.

Ben
Reply

It seems pretty obvious that the 10th amendment recognizes the right of states to succeed. That being said, what does the Constitution really matter in government anymore?

Illuminatiscott
Reply

I quote the Declaration of Independence:

“When any form of government becomes destructive to [the rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness], *it is the right of the people* to alter or abolish it, laying its foundation in such principles and structuring its powers in such form that as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness.”

That may not be verbatim, I’m quoting from memory.

Kris
Reply

The federal constitution has absolutely nothing in it that prohibits a state from seceding from the Union.

The federal constitution has absolutely nothing in it that requires a state to stay in the union.

That said, the powers of the 9th and 10th amendments of the federal constitution clearly specify whether a state has the right to secede.

These amendments clearly state that any rights or privelidges not covered in the federal constitution are left to the states and or citizens themselves.

From this standpoint, the states do infact have the right to secede. And the people as well.

Andrew
Reply

Did you seriously compare our prison numbers to the angelic, freedom-supporting democracy of China?

I hope to God that you arn’t that nieve, China simply executes its prisoners or alters the data. The main problem in the U.S. is a corrupt culture.

If you look at the name, it is the United States, not New Britian, or South Africa, or Australia, or any other former English colony, the states were their own governments that, once severed from England, were independent countries, they agreed to act together for mutual self-benefit, just like the current European Union.

The civil war didn’t decide anything. Lincoln provoked the South by retaining part of South Carolina’s territory, then invaded the south, drafting thousands of civilians, many of whom would be sent to their deaths to defend what? The answer is federal power. The problem with a central government is it never wants to give up power, sadly people have forgotten our history, they don’t realize how important the individual state governments were supposed to be. Over the years, the state governments have slowly lost power and been manipulated by the national government.

For example, the migration of birds is considered inter-state commerce so the national government takes over. That is ridiculous. Where in the constitution was the Supreme Court supposed to be able to dictate or override and state laws, why are there no checks and balances for what the supreme court says.

Secession was not banned in the constitution, and the power to force them to stay in the union was not given to the federal government. Sadly, today, state leaders and governors are too greedy and concerned with receiving money from the federal government to confront the leash around their neck. All that money comes from the states anyways.

Lincoln illegally arrested senators from Maryland who were going to vote to secede, he arrested them, and it was determined to be illegal 4 years later in 1864, by then it was too late. If Maryland had joined the south, the south could have been the United States, and the north the “rebels”.

Our nation is divided between those who are willing to preserve their own heritage and their own culture and those who want to embrace socialism and see their culture paved over by multiculturists and political correctness. I say, let the Northeast secede, and california too, those are the only real democratic powerhouses. If they think socialism works, then let them try hit, history tells a different tale. And if they think national socialism will work, I would like to see what happens when Obamas Civilian National Security Force starts to repress any dissidence.

When did the supreme court decide that if it didn’t like a law, it could choose to re-define the meaning to the point of redundancy. The constitution is the supreme courts toilet paper. I can’t believe that they almost voted to ban the right to bear arms, it was a 5-4 vote against. Its too bad they didn’t vote for it, they knew they didn’t have the power to enforce it back then.

I want to see them try to take away our right to defend ourselves from tyranny. 3/4ths of the military is from the south, who would enforce their rules.

Oh, and being willing to spill the blood of its own citizens won’t always be a position the federal government can take. When a state points a nuclear weapon at D.C., all of the greedy, self-absorbed politicians will think twice about invading it.

Me
Reply

Fact is,
The American people are not interested in seceding. So it doesn’t make any difference. In order to secede the people must be unhappy enough to get involved. And as long as our celebrities make the headlines, our prime time television is still entertaining and we have enough pepsi in the fridge, gas in the tank and food in the cupboard, we are perfectly happy with Government running our lives. You have to be unhappy enough to put up a substantial stink, and be willing to sacrifice substantially in order to make a change large enough to matter. And we are to well fed, fat, and happy to do that. Government wants us content, so much so that they are willing to hand out free coupons in order to keep us in front of our televisions, watching what they want us to watch, caring about what they want us to care about.

something so monumental as splitting the country up is well beyond the American public’s capabilities, we couldn’t even muster up enough momentum to get Immigration tackled, so our borders are still overrun.

we are a well fed, fat, happy lot who will do nothing. we are exactly where Government wants us.

Trevor
Reply

@Me: Time has a way of changing everything.

droh
Reply

Interesting comments. I live in Canada and a few years ago I started wondering about Lincoln’s right to force the South back into the Union. We had a referendum in Quebec about whether they wanted sovereignty association. This was a rather mealy mouthed proposition that looked like it was to sway Quebecers to vote ‘oui’ to leave Canada.

Anyhow, I don’t remember anybody saying that Canadian armed forces would invade Quebec if they voted yes.

There was some talk from some of the Indian tribes in Quebec that they would *not* secede from Canada. This could have been interesting.

The vote was *extremely* close… something like 49.5 in favor of separation and 50.5 not in favor.

Whether there was vote tampering is a debatable point.

It seems to me, and many people that live in Western Canada that Quebec leaving the confederation would not necessarily be a bad thing.

This referendum got me thinking about other countries that had divided. Norway and Sweden, Czechoslovakia, the USSR. None of these fought civil wars.

So, how was the United States justified in forcing the South back into the Union? The question of slavery is just a smoke screen as has been pointed out, Lincoln himself had said that he would free every slave to maintain the Union, but also would keep every slave in bondage to maintain the Union.

I don’t agree that just because the Civil war has been fought and decided that it is meaningless to discuss whether or not the North had the right to try and force the South back into the Union.

Charles H
Reply

Secession in many ways could be a positive development, except for the geo politics of the age. Imagine a fractured USA, The Republic of Texas, New Britannia (New England), California Republic…etc…
No one voice speaking for all, each supporting their own ideas would probably lead to the conquering of one at a time by a foreign power like China all the time promising that it had no problems with the other republics.
AS Lincoln said, United we stand, Divided we fall…and that didn't only mean for slavery.Our strength is in our unity. Division will totally and forever end our existance as a people.

jack
Reply

Why is it that the United States wants Russia to allow its states to be free to govern themselves in a democratic fashion and, yet, it forces its will on its own states? Before it is over with, there will be a series of secessions from the United States…some joining to form a formidable oil rich region with major ports. The people of a region are more than capable of governing themselves…no need for Nancy Pelosi or the other cronies.

trevorsnyder
Reply

My opinions tend to lean towards your way of thinking. I cannot support an entity enforcing a standard on someone else that it does not apply to itself. I'm listening to a very interesting audio book called Empires of Trust that compares the Romans with the Americans as far as government. I wonder where the American cycle is at this point in the game. How long before Washington's arrogance becomes its own worst enemy?

C.Williams
Reply

The problem with the idea of secession is the simple fact that americans as a whole, have truely lost the willingness to place their personal issues aside, and stand together for a common cause. Such a stand has not been made since the civil rights movement. However, the "tea parties" although small in scale, if handled properly may be able to bring like minded citizens together for that common cause. The question that would remain is would they be willing to place all they have on the line for such an idea. My guess would be no. We as a nation have become so cozy with our lifestyles, that very few would be willing to risk all for change. Example: Every week the lottery holds drawings for millions of dollars, we all would like to be millionaires, however none of us are willing to drain our bank accouts and spend it all on lottery tickets. why? the risk of losing everything is simply too great. This may not be the perfect analogy, but i think i is a simple way of putting things into perspective.

C.Williams
Reply

People have complained about taxation for generations, and the solution is quite simple, if even 2/3 of the current workforce were to stop working for three months, the government could not function. the loss of income would so great, that there would be no way for the federal government to recover, and would simply have no choice but to dissolve. We the taxpayers, hold all of the cards, yet many of us are blind to that fact. There are no laws on the books that states that any american citizen must have a job, or be gainfuly employed. We hold the power, but we have been told by the government for so long that they have the power, we have all been snowed into this beleif.

Boris
Reply

Sure taxpayers have the right to stop being gainfuly employed!
The way to circumvent taxes it to have a barter economy.

The thing is though that since so many people depend on welfare and aid of various sort you’d better help these people in ye old christian way or they will pillage and revolt against you and your barter economy themselves.

Hoa
Reply

To answer your question dear author, I would like to say that states do have the right to secede since most of them volunteered to join the union hence they also have the right to get out of the union. Just think of the action as a contract joined together by two voluntary members. If one can join, then one can also leave. Unless of course, the contract is somewhat like what's going on in the Mafia, but of course our world is not like that. In addition, to make a more modern analogy, just imagine every worker rights to enter to the workforce and leave when they want to.

trevorsnyder
Reply

I tend to agree with you Hoa. States have every right to secede. If one did, however, I think it would promptly be invaded by the feds and forced back into line. Because that's our fake freedom in the 21st century.

notcrazy
Reply

Whether secession is legal or not is not really the issue. Our parents & grandparent gave their lives in defence of our freedom. They gave everything! The question really is am I willing to allow their sacrifices mean absolutely nothing?
If i approached you with a box & said inside this box is something that millions of people people have fought & died for. It is so valuable my own grandfather gave 6 years of his life fighting for what is in this box. He finally won it through his sacrifice & the sacrifice who his friends who lay dead because of the value of what i have in this box. I’m thinking of throwing it away though, because I don’t really care enough for it to take the time time & the effort it takes to sustain it. They did the hard work but it really isn’t worth it to me to clean it & make it shine anymore, no I think I’ll throw it away. Would you think I was crazy? You would–and anyone who will take the freedom that their faimilies have given their blood for is just as crazy.

tn1987
Reply

Your missing the point though. If you said in this box is something my grandfather gave 6 years of his life to throw away would it be ok for me to throw this like-wise object away? This has nothing to do with honor or who fought what. If you are going to support those who died to create this country then you must also support why they died to create this country and that is the Declaration. The right and freedom to leave one government and form another. THIS is the right by which they died to protect NOT the nation they were founding. The idea of freedom over government. That freedom should extend to allow states to leave. So to answer you, would I think your crazy maybe but ultimately it is YOUR right to throw it away in the first place and not mine to tell you what to do with it.

Penfist

I take it your conclusion is that states DO have the moral authority to secede then.

finishthagame
Reply

Wow, no one has ever put it like that. You make great sense with that analogy. 
Spread the message.

jackspratt
Reply

Pointless semantic argument. Look, the reality is this:
1. The issue has been decided on the field. States are nothing more than administrative districts for DC
2. The Supreme Court, who didn’t touch the subject during the conflict, finally ruled in 1869 Texas v. White that there is no secession from the Union. Chief Justice was former SecTreas Chase
3. Jeff Davis was never tried for treason for the very reason that the Federals did not want to risk losing in court what they won at war. Texas v. White followed Davis’ non-court case when he was imprisoned, without trial or charge, for years.
4. If you think DC is letting the tax base leave, you are out of your mind. DC will roll troops on any state in a heartbeat if they think about it. “what about my tariff” ring a bell? It should. That was what Lincoln said after SC said it would collect federal tariffs coming into Charleston after 20 DEC 1860.
5. But no State ever will. Why? They are all addicted to the Federal trough.

Trevor
Reply

Jack,

The nature of the universe is that nothing lasts forever. Your point 5 is therefore probably wrong. The federal system isn’t good enough to last more than another 100 years at most. And the rate of social change and technology advancement almost guarantees the U.S. as we know it is going to be done in less than 50 years. That’s how I see it.

Empty_Set
Reply

The 10th Amendment does not guarantee the right of a state to secede. Those who claim it does, always seem to neglect the last part of the Amendment:

“or to the people.”

The people clearly have a right to secede. You may wish at any time, to pack your bags and leave. Just like many other rights belong to the people, and not the States, the right to secede belongs to the citizens as individuals, and not the States.

Trevor
Reply

Isn’t a state just a group of individuals? If a strong majority of these vote to secede why shouldn’t that be binding?

Guest
Reply

Doesn’t (I don’t know-but presume) that Texas v. White, 74 U.S. 700 resolved that question and it is illegal to secede.

Penfist
Reply

Legality is irrelevant. It was illegal for the people who founded this country to break away from the King of England and they did it anyway.

Thresamatthews
Reply

I know this is an old post, but as of Nov. 4, 2010, 66 counties in Texas have citizens in them calling for a citizens’ convention like they had in 1861.

Penfist
Reply

Teresa, thanks for your input. Calling this an old post is a misnomer from a historical context – the question of whether or not we are a free or forced union of states was not really settled permanently by our first and so far only civil war.

Obviously I am not the only one thinking about that fact.

Thenommonster
Reply

And, as of now, how did that work out?

Secession: The issue that won’t die
Reply

[...] so, then we believe in the right of secession. There are two major facets to the secession question: 1) morality and 2) self-interest. These two items do not necessarily align with one another. When [...]

Rgwhite45
Reply

I have something to say about this. Every state the rights to secede from the Union.
I am from California, if Texas seceded from the Union, I for one will join them.

Fed, you can read this and I have nothing hide my feeling and opinion.
Robert White

Caldera19
Reply

Saying that Lincoln “saved” the Union by winning the Civil War is like saying a man has saved his marriage by beating his wife into submission. A union held together by force is not a union.

Penfist
Reply

I’ll have to agree with you!

Eileen
Reply

The southern states asked to be allowed back into the union; no one forced them. they could not stand on their own.

Rich7544
Reply

I suggest you read a book titled ”BLOOD MONEY, The civil War and the Federal Reserve” written by John Remington Graham. There are instances that will reinforce the opinion the each state is  soverign and as such, has the right to secede under certain situations and by following certain procedures held up for centuries.  

PingEcho728
Reply

I firmly believe it is the right of each individual State to decide whether, at any point in time and for any reason they want, to stay in the Union or to Secede from it. No where in the Constitution does it explictly or implictly say States must remain in the Union for all time. If one looks at the Constitution when the united states is mentioned spells it: united States of America. The founders believed, as do I, that the United States is a union of sovereign states joined together for common cause. It is not a suicide pact where every State must follow Washington DC even if that leads them over the metaphorical cliff. Lincoln was a traitor to the Constitution as has every President from Lincoln onward with the possible exception of Ronald Reagan. Sic Semper Tyrannis.

Draygad
Reply

Two State Supreme Courts ruled that the secession of the Confederate States was both legal and justified. Ohio & Maryland, both Union states by the way. One in 1861, just prior to the beginning of the war, and another in 1865, just after the end of the war.

Cynical Anthropocent
Reply

In my opinion you missed part of the real story regarding the Civil War. 
You said: “many enlisted in the war effort because they felt that the North was trying to dictate how they should live.”

The point you have overlooked was the Federalist insistence in increasing tax on property as a way to extort the products of the south.

The Federalists were upset because the south could sell cotton and its products at a higher profit to Europe and the north resented the high cost.

That led to the Federalists increasing the tax on personal property (also known as slaves) to force them to concede to selling cotton cheaper.

You see? It was not about slaves being free as in freedom but free as in a taxed commodity.

Back then MOST Southern people knew that slavery was nearing an end before the war to place.

FOR THE RECORD:  the last place to officially re-join the Union after the war was a small town called Town Line – they did the official documentation in 1946. 
…. oh – Town Line is in Erie County New York.  They Seceded because the Prisoners of War were poorly treated in NY State

Wildflamingoman
Reply

So, if a state should have the the right to secede, then an area within a city or an unincorporated area should also have the right to secede from the larger city and start it’s own town, right?  This happened in two relatively small and separate areas I lived in, in South Florida.  Before you read on……….answer the above question.

Ok, so I’m assuming your answer is that sure, you should be able to have your own little town if you want.  Ok, then the next question is, for all the same reasons why some of you believe that a state should be able to secede………shouldn’t a city or town or a group of cities or towns be able to form it’s/their own state?  If the people in those towns/cities believe the state government is not governing in their best interest then they should have the right to secede from the state and govern themselves, just like a state should be able to secede from the country for those same reasons, right?  

So if we then follow that logic, then a relatively small area should legally be able and morally has the right to start it’s own town, then it’s own state and the it’s own country, or join some other union/country as some have suggested.  And they, as free people, should be able to choose whichever union they want to join, right?  So some small area in Nebraska for example, should be able to become a detached state of Pakistan or Iran or North Korea, like Alaska currently is a detached state of the US, right?  After all, people should be free to self determination, etc., right? 

Penfist
Reply

I think it’s probably impractical for say, Chicago to secede and join Pakistan. The city of Dearborn, Michigan might want to secede and join an Arab state since the population is mostly Muslim. Morally and ethically people should be represented by those who share similar views. Practically though, I find it unlikely that any area of the United States is going to want to join Pakistan, North Korea or Iran. Those were silly examples.

Why didn’t you use Canada or Mexico? Let’s take the second example. If a border town votes to join Mexico, then yes, it should be allowed to do so. That would be moral.

Dean Robbins
Reply

 I wouldn’t be so sure about that statement -> “I find it unlikely that any area of the United States is going to want to join Pakistan, North Korea or Iran”  The problem that we have is the electoral college and the winner takes all format.  California has about 1/5 of the electoral college.  So, one state is “dictating” to the rest of the country how it should “view” things.  That is the core of the problem.  Electoral votes should be based on sections within the state.  If there are 55 districts in California, each district should be able to cast their vote for the candidate whom best serves their “views”.  That would eliminate the “mob” rules scenarios that we are seeing play out.

Thenommonster
Reply

Alaska isn’t a “detached state,” it’s non-contiguous, just like Hawaii..

Racing9hd
Reply

same difference, lol

Wewe
Reply

Some mention of the constitution might be nice. 

Penfist
Reply

Are you referring to the current Congress, or something else entirely? I sure would like it if they followed the Constitution…

Jrsimp61
Reply

Only under severe circumstances; i.e. Executive Branch declares a State of Emergency within the 48 contiguous states and places them all under martial, suspending all Constitutional rights of US citizens. Dispatching federal authorities to take over State Governments and deploying US or Foreign soldiers to the states to enforce Executive Orders.

Dean Robbins
Reply

 God help us if that ever happens!

Thenommonster
Reply

It’s not that States’ should be given the right to secede, secession plain and simply is something that should be frowned upon, and is. But in the case you described, that if government should fail to protect the rights’ of the people, then Constitutionally, the people have the right to overthrow government and start over, not necessarily just to secede.

Christian
Reply

To me the best analogy is whether an abused or neglected wife want to leave her husband and he uses force to make her stay!  Yeah – viva Freedom!!  United States is the biggest hypocrite nation to every exist!  Just like we are spreading freedom in the Middle East these days with puppet Goverments we pay off to help repress their peoples.  

torri girls
Reply

how about u go move ur ass to the middle east and then u will wish that u had appreciated living in the usa!!!

Willy8512008
Reply

The states do have a right to secede and I hope that the red states will take me with them. I am sick and tired of the federal government running our lives, confiscating our income and ignoring the constitution. The liberals feel they have a right to use my income to spread their generosity. They force their views on me and file lawsuits against mine. They want to force medical professionals to work for less, while they pay Amtrak employees far too much. I want a divorce from liberals and their lunacy. 

torri girls
Reply

GREEDY AND SELFISH equals PRICK!!!

Baseballeast4
Reply

All I can say is after these next 4 years are up I’ll be proud to say I did not vote for him

torri girls
Reply

four yrs are just beginning so get used to it bcs my president as well as YOURS is BARACK OBAMA and his VP is JOE BIDEN; not MITT ROMNEY and PAUL RYAN!!!

Emanuel Mandel
Reply

I love this article, I have a question however, what would happen to a state’s federal funding if they decide to secede? 

James
Reply

They would loose that federal funding BUT they would no longer be obligated to pay federal TAXES. Its a winning outcome for people like me in Florida or Texans that have no state income taxes; but I’d be willing to pay a bit more to my STATE in taxes where I know the money will be better spent.

Guitaristssweetheart
Reply

Actually, Lincoln was not opposed to slavery.  Lincoln is placed on a pedestal and treated as a “god,” but he was anything but moral when it came to the blacks.  Look at the history.  Blacks were enlisting in the Confederacy but Grant had to beg to allow them into the Union army.  In the South, they held rank; but Lincoln made the statement that “no black will head over a white as long as I am in power.”  The Union wrote the history of the war, but it doesn’t make it correct – just like any war. Truth of the matter is that slavery was on its way out the door; that with the invention of the cotton gin, there would be no need.  If you dig deep enough you will find that the Union had to actually bribe former slaves to leave.  I have read a testimony by one family who refused to leave because he considered his owners family.  Other accounts have stated that the North treated blacks as 2nd class citizens.  They were actually treated better in the south.  Also, look up and read the CSA’s Constitution.  It actually forbade the importation and exportation of slaves.  One last thing, it was the North who introduced slavery into the US, while the southern state of VA was against it and tried to oppose it.  The true reason behind the Civil war was the fact that the South had no representation.  Sound familiar?

Nikita
Reply

The Constitution gives anyone the right to seced from the Union and form their own Government.

Billc
Reply

 Really Dip Shit what part of the constitution says that

Starshine
Reply

Just as the Republicans were absolutely sure that they would win because they were surely the majority in this country,  they also falsely believe that the majority of people in these states would agree to secede based on a small number of signatures on petitions gathered by sore and disgruntled losers.

No way any of these states could get a majority of citizens to vote for this ridiculous proposition.  These tea party fanatics have signed over custody of their mental faculties to FAUX NEWS.  I feel sorry for them as they have lost all sense of reality to the point where they are a danger to our country…………….

kymintjulips
Reply

While it may not be feasible to secede from the Union, MAYBE, if enough of THE PEOPLE let THEIR GOVERNMENT know how they feel about the condition THEIR GOVERNMENT has gotten their lives in with all of their over-bearing EPA regulations, government spending, foreign aid, just to mention a few, MAYBE the government officials will see that the country is in dire turmoil and they MAY start to do what is BEST for the nation’s citizens, instead of their PARTY and it’s views!  How can ANYONE be a danger to OUR country for SPEAKING OUT????  I don’t know about the rest of the country, but, in my area, THE PEOPLE feel as if the government has them backed into a wall with no way out.  When jobs are taken, left and right, and NO recourse to support their families, WHAT SHOULD A NATION DO??  (apply for foreign aid???)  there’s a thought!

Jrbruce1
Reply

And you are a koolaid drinker who has bought the idea that the federal government has totally unlimited power.

Ann W
Reply

They sure are Kool Aid drinkers and underestimate the power of the people

Matthew Colley
Reply

If the leaders aren’t following the constitution and are taking away freedom, it is completely legal to overthrow them. Preferably before succeeding that is. Yet if majority of the population for some reason is cool with whats going on, then so be it, those who follow the actual constitution have that right to make a new country that actual follow the constitution. Yet, how wouldn’t it be legal? So leaders can break the constitution and get away with it, but if you fight against having your rights taken away, and its constitutional, why can’t you do it? That makes no sense, use your brain. The whole “right to bare arms” is what is currently being put up as the symbol of our freedom. If they place bans on it, then in fact they are taking away your freedom of choice to own a firearm. That is completely unconstitutional. You don’t have to believe in the ownership of weapons, but in fact it is a symbol of your freedom and choice to own one if you so choose. The government is picking such a controversial subject to start taking away freedoms, because if they veil their intentions with something controversial, they will much more easily get what they way.They are having us all fight one another over something that shouldn’t even be a choice, its an amendment, that’s that, so shut up about it. Those who are in power and are attempting to take away our rights deserve to be impeached, and if the majority of the people in the country believe it is constitutional for them to do these things, which again are taking away rights, then we have the right to kill them for treason. This country is of the people. That means we are the boss of this country, and our elected officials are our employees. They are paid with our tax dollars, we own the show. If they are doing a bad job, then they deserved to be fired. Sorry but we are a country of the constitution, and until it is not our primary decider of basic laws and freedoms, then it is completely illegal for our freedoms that are stated in the constitution to be taken away. It is the law, no matter what you say can change the constitution. If so, your being treasonous, by supporting taking freedom from others.

Billc
Reply

Listen- even if you idiots got enough support from all the other states to let your fanatical asses secede (which is what it would take by the way) you obviously have no idea what you would be losing. No military to protect you from any invading country and no you don’t get to keep any US military hardware in your state), no Federal money which is the only reason any state (i.e. Texas) can hope to balance their budget, no Post Office, no Medicare, no Social Security, no Forest Service, no OSHA to protect your dumb asses at work, no welfare, no food stamps, no Federal Unemployment, no assistance of any kind because yo can bet your ‘country state’ couldn’t afford it. All you wizards who live in the path of hurricanes or tornado alley are on your own, don’t even think about FEMA or whining that no one is helping you-take it to your new flat broke government. No supplementing your primary,secondary, or college education. No freeways or federal road and bridge dollars. No FAA to control your aircraft as if you would have any.This is just a ridiculously short list and   the more I write the more I realize that you idiots are clueless, just like the people who voted for Romney in the first place who couldn’t have care less about 99% of the people who voted for him and now you morons have the gaul to suggest secession-good luck with that- I’ll be happily living in the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA for the rest of my life and you people can feel free to move to HELL. 

Seeker81041
Reply

when a state became part of the united states they became part of the united states of there on free will an should beable to leave as long the people of that state votes to do so

Ann W
Reply

You are the idiot!!! We would pay no money to the Feds and get to keep it ourselves to run our own gov’t. FEMA is laughable, I know because in 2011 Alabama was devestated by tornados and FEMA, the Red cross and others did very little..We would stop people from getting welfare who are able to work but refuse to. If the illegals can find work why can’t the lazy ass dope smoking, gov’t tit sucking welfare people find a job. Because it is easier to draw a Welfare Social Security Check that’s why. Also dumbass very few use the postal service anymore so who needs it. If we need to ship something there are plenty of ways ie: fedex, ups, etc The USPS is just another expense we don’t need. We plan to send our gov’t titty suckers to your state to support. We want them all out of ours.

Seeker81041
Reply

any state should beable to leave they became part of the union of there own free will it took a vote of the ppl of the area or state  to do so an should have the right to leave the same way

Will
Reply

I love these articles that paint dishonest Abe as the guy who held things together while ending slavery. He didn’t give a damn about the slaves and even wrote letters to governors telling them that they could keep their slaves for another twenty years if they didn’t secede. In certain parts of the north slavery was still legal and there were blacks who were slave masters themselves. Lincoln was a racist but actually Jefferson Davis wasn’t. He adopted a black child, submitted papers saying that he would never be a slave, gave him his name, sent him to school, and treated him like one of the family. If people studied the real history behind the war instead of state mandated history they’d come to see that they’ve been lied to all of these years. The war was fought for much of the same reasons of things happening today which is rights. What has been said by several historians who’ve studied the economic times and leadership of Lincoln in comparison to our current Commander in Grief is that this one is just like Lincoln except he’s on steroids. The south was being starved and taxed to death. The mass majority of the people that fought and died for the south couldn’t afford a piece of candy much less a slave.

AC2000
Reply

If you think no state has the right to succeed.
That is bull.
When Russia fell apart the media and liberals were saying, oh yes
those poor people deserve to have their own state.

Funny if Texas or Alabama want to leave the land of US, Obamaville.
They have no rights to do so.
I say States should leave and form the government that our four fathers
had in mind.
Limited government with no interference.

Amen!

Trevor
Reply

Hi AC! Thanks for dropping by. Just a point of order here – the word you want is secede, not succeed. They sound similar but have very different meanings. Additionally, it’s forefathers, not four fathers. I realize you were making a point, and I tend to agree with it. However, using the correct words adds power to your argument. Happy New Year.

tina
Reply

if a state secedes what happens to those who live there that did not want that? Is the new govt. going to buy them out so they can live within the United States? What happens to Social Security et.? How about FEMA? Is each state able to provide that? What happens when someone from that state wants to travel out of that state to one still in the Union? Is a passport needed A can of worms if you ask me

Trevor
Reply

Tina,

Which is more of a can of worms? Your individual rights being arbitrarily removed by strangers in a city far away, or having to go through an uncomfortable process where you tell the strangers they are no longer welcome in your home or on your land, or in your city or state? No one is born with a guarantee that life will be easy. On the other hand, we have a proud tradition in the United States of despising royalty. Is there a time for secession? Absolutely. That’s how this country came into being. Imagining that one declaration of independence was enough to fill history would be foolish. Putting off having a tumor excised now because it is painful might just kill you later.

Some people are perfectly content with the United States of America as it is. Those people have no right to expect others to feel the same way they do. If a state secedes, there will certainly be turmoil. Lives will inevitably be uprooted. Existing laws may become null and void. Entire sociopolitical structures may be replaced overnight. People will no longer be allowed to live under the illusion that all of us have a right to live in a fantasy world where adults can abdicate their personal responsibility and decision making power to strangers in far away cities. Secession has a cost, just as the current system of governance comes with a cost.

I suppose it all depends how much you are willing to pay for more or less local governance. In the secession model, if you can make it work, you get more local decision making. In the existing model, you get much less. Either way, you are going to pay a price. Do you value comfort, safety and the delegation of your individual decision making to far away strangers, or do you value independence, personal responsibility and being treated like your opinions matter, your personal values are worth something and your local community is the center of gravity in your life?

It would be interesting to study the former client states of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics for some lessons. Were those hundreds of millions of people happier when Moscow was dictating their lives, or are they happier now? Were they freer then or now? How many of them want to go back to the way things were? In the end, change is the only constant in the universe.

John R. Wilson
Reply

I was sent tweets by 2 ultra liberals, (a black Congresswoman, and a liberal activist attorney) neither of whom respects your right to express yourself. One was complaining that someone with a Confederate flag was among those in a Tea party rally in front of the White House. The other was expounding the attributes of Obamacare and that prison sentences for black offenders are longer than those of whites. The summary of my responses are 1. I am from the South, my great-grandfather was a Confederate, and the flag is about history, 2. Stop wasting time and money in Congress. Focus on what is best for all, and crime prevention, rather than dwelling on black issues. I am white and my taxes pay Congress, and I deserve something for my money. We have been punished long enough for slavery, which was over 150 years ago. If blacks did not do the crime, they would not be in prison.

Trevor
Reply

Tone down your rhetoric Bill. No one ever has a productive conversation by starting off calling the others idiots.

Trevor
Reply

Try the Declaration of Independence Bill. Personally, I don’t need someone else’s permission to find my way through life, but here you go:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.

Bonds held together by force do not equate to freedom, and responsible, free people do not have to stay in political bonds that do not benefit or appeal to them. Revolution the most basic human right, and the first step towards revolution is a partings of the political bonds that bind us to one another. Ideally the process happens peacefully. When people treat each other disrespectfully, as you have done to other readers of my blog, peace remains less likely as passion becomes inflamed. So calm down.

Trevor
Reply

Calm down little one. No need to get all excitable.

Trevor
Reply

Is the President then a king who I must bow before? He is an elected official and does not earn any automatic obeisance. That is the entire point of living in a free nation. I can tell Barack to shove it if he comes into my house making demands of me. Just as I could have told any of the men who came before him in the post. The less power we give Presidents the better off we all are for it.

Trevor
Reply

Where did you get this information? I think you might have missed the whole point of the war, which was to use force to settle a disagreement about whether or not the Southern states would be allowed to secede. Claiming the South asked to be allowed back into the Union is quite disingenuous.

Trevor
Reply

I have lived in the Middle East and I do appreciate living in the U.S. That does not mean I must arbitrarily accept the US as it is, nor that I should be silent in demanding change.

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