Secession: The Hope For Humanity

In this article, I will define secession and make a case why secession is the only reasonable, logical and pragmatic solution to further the cause of human liberty and functional governance.

What is secession?

“Secession” is broadly defined as “the act of withdrawing formally from membership in an organization, association, or alliance.” We are defining it specifically as the action of a state to cease its participation in the United States of America and for that state to create itself as a new independent, sovereign nation.

The American Revolution of 1776 was, by definition, an act of secession. An association of English colonies banded together and issued a Declaration of Independence that was presented to King George III. The King did not accept the secession and a civil war ensued.

Remember that the Declaration of Independence in 1776 was not the legal, formal secession document originating within any state Governor’s offices or the state legislatures. The 56 men who signed the Declaration of Independence were lawyers, merchants, farmers and others who took it upon themselves to place the King on notice of the intentions of a small minority of Royal subjects who did not wish to be subjects any longer, and who were leading a revolution against the King. (Read Secession and Attorneys

Another secession event happened in the United States in the 1860s. This time, it was the actual state governments that issued formal secession documents.

The misinformation widely prevalent in America about secession was written by the winning side of the American War Between The States of 1861-1865. They called it the Civil War. But it was not a civil war by definition.

James Fearon, a civil wars scholar at Stanford University, defines a civil war as “a violent conflict within a country fought by organized groups that aim to take power at the center or in a region, or to change government policies.” Usually, one side of the conflict is the state.

Based on that definition, the actions of the 11 Confederate states in 1861 did not constitute starting a civil war. They weren’t looking to take power, overthrow the US government or change government policies. They just lawfully and peaceably seceded from the Union. The United States actually invaded a sovereign nation, the Confederate States of America, with the intent of overthrowing their government and bringing the states of the CSA back into the USA.

The most recent example of state secession happened in 1989 when the fifteen republics of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) seceded from the USSR. The USSR ceased to exist as all of the republics rejected the Kremlin government and became sovereign nations. (go to: Mikhail Gorbachev and Secession)

Despite the fact that the USSR was the second most powerful nation on the planet, it was completely powerless to stop secession. Once the republics reasserted their sovereignty as free nations, the USSR dissolved into the dustbin of history.

What is the difference in secession and nullification?

Nullification is the a legal principle holding that a US State has the right to nullify, or invalidate, any federal law which that state has deemed unconstitutional. It has its legal foundation in the 9th and 10 Amendments of the US Constitution. Nullification has been used by the states throughout US history to prevent unjust laws from being enforced.

The most noteworthy use of nullification by any state was the so-called Nullification Crisis of 1832. Congress had enacted a high tariff that South Carolina rejected in its Ordinance of Nullification, which stated that the tariff was unconstitutional, and therefore unenforceable in South Carolina. The state made military preparations to resist anticipated federal enforcement. Congress responded by passing a Force Bill, authorizing President Andrew Jackson to use military force against South Carolina to enforce the tariff. But Congress simultaneously passed a new lower tariff that was satisfactory to South Carolina. So, Congress wisely chose to back down and compromise against the South Carolina nullification action.

Thirty nine states of the United States have passed Tenth Amendment resolutions in recent months, stating that they are prepared to re-assert their authority to determine which Federal laws will be enforced within their borders. A few have enacted firearms legislation which states that firearms and ammunition manufactured and sold within the borders of a particular state are not subject to Federal law and regulation. It remains to be seen if Washington will recognize the nullification of Federal gun laws.

So, we see that nullification is a method whereby a US state may effectively control the legislative process of the US Federal Government as it pertains to how Federal law is enacted and enforced within any state. Compare that process to secession, in which a state formally withdraws from the United States to become a sovereign nation. Secession asserts that the relationship between parties has ceased, and that all previous commitments are null and void.

Why should a state consider secession?

First, secession should never be considered for light or transient reasons. Disagreements come and go between parties, and can usually be negotiated to the satisfaction of all parties. But when a long list of abuses exists, when repeated usurpations of state authority are enacted, when the sovereignty of states is trampled and ignored, and when citizens suffer a diminution of both their natural rights and economic freedom, it is the duty of states to solemnly consider either altering or abolishing the government that abuses that state and its citizens.

Who benefits from secession and what are the benefits?

In today’s America, any seceding state will benefit from the repudiation of the United States’ debt load, which will result in the savings of hundreds of billions of dollars that the citizens of the seceding state will never have to pay. Otherwise, if a state secedes and forms a government just like the one from which they seceded, there is limited benefit to the state or the citizen. But if the state protects individual liberty, life and property rights, the citizens will be infinitely more free.

The citizens of a state that secedes benefit to the degree that the seceding state “institute(s) 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.” (from US Declaration of Independence)

Also, any persons who immigrate to the seceding state can experience benefits if they renounce their former citizenship and become a citizen of the seceding state. But, an émigré who did not change citizenship would receive benefit from simply living in the seceding state.

The business community in the seceding state will benefit instantly as the crushing weight of US Federal regulations would vanish. No longer would businesses be required to be the tax collector for the IRS. The economy of a seceding state would be expected to explode with new commerce directly attributable to the competitive advantages of the new state.

The new state government of the seceding state would benefit as they would be free of US government rules, regulations, usurpations and unfunded mandates. No longer would the seceding state be required to enforce US Federal law.

The seceding state would benefit from a general shared attitude of most people of hope, optimism and excitement about the future.

Immigration to the seceding state would explode as liberty-loving individuals worldwide would bring their talents, experience and gifts to the new nation seeking liberty and a bright future for themselves and their progeny.

Who doesn’t benefit from secession?

In this specific example of secession from the United States, the parties who do not benefit are the United States Federal Government and the states that remain in the Union. To them will fall the unconstitutional debt load in greater percentage than before secession. The US Federal Government will also receive no further revenue from the seceding state. Also, the citizens of the seceding state will no longer be available to the United States for military service. And, individual secessions will occur as Americans leave the USA to immigrate to the new nation…people voting with their feet.

The other individuals that will not benefit from secession are those presently receiving any Federal monetary benefits. It would be a reasonable expectation that Washington would stop any further payments or benefits from flowing to an individual who was no longer an American citizen. However, it would be possible that upon secession, some American citizens would continue to live in the seceded state as resident aliens. They could potentially still receive Federal benefits, but they should expect those terms to change.

Will state secession cause a military conflict between parties?

There is no reason in law or in fact that the parties may not mutually and amicably agree to separate from each other. It would be mutually beneficial to both parties to negotiate the secession issues, which would include issues of Federal lands inside state borders. But it should be stated that, in the 1783 Treaty negotiated between King George III of England and the United States of America, the King “relinquished all claims to the government, propriety and territorial rights of the same and every part thereof.”

The seceding state would also be aware that, if the United States Federal Government dissolved or collapsed in like manner to the Soviet Union, any previously negotiated issues or treaties would be null and void.

Can secession be done without armed resistance?

As stated in the previous paragraph, secession should proceed without military conflict. But, the Second Amendment of the US Constitution states that because a well-regulated militia is necessary to the security of a Free State, the right of the People to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed. So, while no reason for armed conflict exists, that does not prevent it from occurring. A seceding state should revitalize its militia and prepare them for armed resistance and the defense of the borders of the seceding state from invasion by the United States military, its hired mercenaries, or United Nations troops.

Can Liberty be restored in America without secession?

The Washington political machine is spinning wildly out of control. Both political parties are two sides of the same coin. Neither party stands for Constitutionality, small government and fiscal responsibility. Even if you elect new representatives, senators and Presidents, the Washington culture will quickly corrupt them by requiring the officials to court contributions while lobbyists shower them with money and perks. In addition, Congress has created vast bureaucracies that grow and infest the nation unabated. Finally, and most importantly, the elected officeholders in Washington do not recognize any control or restraint on their power to enact unconstitutional laws and spend money in excess of tax revenues. Washington has borrowed trillions of dollars from the world that will never be repaid. If there is a solution to bring Washington back into compliance with the Constitution, I have not seen it to this date.

When should secession be done?

Secession should be solemnly deliberated by the elected representatives and the state citizens. Secession should be initiated at the moment that any state reaches the point at which it will no longer accept the despotic tyranny and unconstitutional laws coming from the US Federal Government in Washington, DC. Each individual must come to his or her own conclusion that secession is the only way to regain liberty, and each state must make its secession decision independently.

How would secession be done?

There is no written, formal method for initiating and completing an act of secession. If history can be our guide, we see that the conventions of the seceding states of 1860 wrote and ratified a Declaration of Secession. Each Declaration enumerated that particular state’s reasons for secession, in like manner to the 1776 Declaration of Independence.

Then they passed an Ordinance of Secession. Here below is the simple, succinct wording of the South Carolina Ordinance of Secession of 1860.

AN ORDINANCE to dissolve the union between the State of South Carolina and other States united with her under the compact entitled “The Constitution of the United States of America.”

We, the people of the State of South Carolina, in convention assembled do declare and ordain, and it is hereby declared and ordained, That the ordinance adopted by us in convention on the twenty-third day of May, in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and eighty-eight, whereby the Constitution of the United States of America was ratified, and also all acts and parts of acts of the General Assembly of this State ratifying amendments of the said Constitution, are hereby repealed; and that the union now subsisting between South Carolina and other States, under the name of the “United States of America,” is hereby dissolved.

Done at Charleston the twentieth day of December, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty.

That is the sum of all the words necessary to complete the secession.

In conclusion, try to envision yourself and your family in a new nation created by secession. All the people you meet are excited and breathless in their anticipation of the future. The general opinion of the populace is pure unbridled optimism. The new nation’s economy is booming, the money is backed by gold and silver, and there is no inflation. “Now Hiring” signs are in all the shop windows. The newspaper’s “Help Wanted” ads are packed full. Prices for goods and services are low, and the stores are loaded with goods. Manufacturers are streaming into the new nation to take advantage of the rare pro-business atmosphere. Wages are climbing steadily in manufacturing jobs as companies compete for the best and brightest for their employees. New businesses are being created at a fever pace. Residential and commercial construction is at a high level to meet the demand of the new residents.

All because one state recognized this historic opportunity and chased the dream of liberty through the process of state secession.

Secession is the hope for humanity. Who will be first?

DumpDC. Six Letters That Can Change History.

© Copyright 2009, Russell D. Longcore. Permission to reprint in whole or in part is gladly granted, provided full credit is given.

18 Responses to Secession: The Hope For Humanity

  1. […] The Hope For Humanity Posted on December 29, 2009 by Bill Miller This Article by By: Russell D. Longcore on Secession should be solemnly deliberated by the elected […]

  2. Dave Lyons says:

    Further grounds supporting Secession; the default of another agreement.

    Enabling Acts were prepared for each State desiring to join the Union of States. I refer to “Enabling Act; To provide for the division of Dakota into two States and to enable the people of North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana, and Washington to form constitutions and State Governments and to be admitted to the Union on an equal footing with the original States,…”

    The Enabling Act is an agreement with the States already in Union and provides for, among other things, the following:

    The Territories (States included above) “may become the States of North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana, and Washington respectively, as herein after provided.

    Delegates to be voted upon and form a convention,… and after organization shall declare, on behalf of the people of said proposed States, that they adopt the Constitution of the United States, and to form constitutions and States Governments for the proposed States.

    The Constitutions (formed) shall be Republican in form.
    …not be repugnant to the Constitution of the United States, and the principles of the Declaration of Independence.

    The Enabling Act is offered in the State of Washington Legislative Manual.

    It seems to me that every State after the first fourteen (14) States were provided Enabling Acts, and that each one has all the elements of Contracts. As such, the Bill of Rights (all ten) were an agreement required in order to become a member of the Union of States. That agreement included the full U.S. Constitution as well.

    As with all enforable agreements, the provision therein are required to meet the mutual assent achieved when originally ratified.

    The concept requirements began under the original Confederation and carried forward in the U.S. Constitution, Article VI: “All debts and engagements (agreements, contracts and treaty obligations) entered into, before the adoption of this Constitution, shall be as valid against the United States under this Constitution, as under the confederation.”


  3. Jack3d says:

    What’s up, I recently found your blog – thanks for writing. Just wanted to let you know that it’s not showing up correctly on the BlackBerry Browser (I have a Storm). Either way, I am now on the RSS feed on my home PC, so thanks again!

  4. Mark Weiss, P.E. says:

    Secession has been a hot topic since late 2008 and while the mechanisms for it may exist in portions of the US Constitution, there are also a lot of specific points in the first ten amendments that are ignored by the last few governments in power.

    I’m not so sure that secession of any state would work, for similar reasons that I’d not bet on the safety of a new nation created by expatriot Americans on a deserted island, if one existed that was suitable for habitation. The issues at stake here are that a loss of tax revenue from any state would be deemed unacceptable and thus the secession would be met with a block by the federal government.

    What has to be understood here is that the federal government has enough military power to destroy any nation on earth. Between the inventories of nuke missiles, Predator drones, and an assortment of many unknown or classified military hardware, any form of resistance by any group–even as large as a state–would be crushed within days, if not hours.

    The only potential for this to work is if numerous states band together in sucession, forming several new countries within the former US borders. Indeed, there are some predictions that state that the US will divide into about six smaller national regions in the next 20-40 years. But the chances of a small state in the northeast being able to pull off such a feat are small to none.

    If a majority of states start the process, it may be effectual as a bargaining level with the federal government. But each state’s people will have to be unanimously in favor of secession, or else dissident forces will work against that state from within.

    One final point: it all depends on how bad the day to day personal life of the individual becomes. No one is going to risk dying in a war for a 20% increase in income taxes. As long as people are still able to live, but with fewer luxuries, they will put up with it. History bears this out. In 1939, the income tax was 1%. It has doubled many times to get where it is today, and no state has left the union because of it, because people still have a relatively high standard of living.
    When things get so bad that poverty and starvation abound, only then will people be willing to decide between continued suffering under the thumb of a dictatorship, or fighting and dying in a war of independance. America is not there yet.

  5. Will May says:

    I really like most of this article.

    I disagree about militias, though. I’m going to hold out for some kind of peaceful separation from the U.S.

    In the absence of that option, I would try to negotiate some agreement with another, more powerful nation (say, China or France) where they would guarantee our protection, and deter the U.S. from attacking.

    While I believe subjecting ourselves to federal laws is extremely costly, military action is also extremely costly. In my opinion, it would defeat the purpose of secession if we got involved in a war.

  6. dumpdc says:


    Are you out of your fricking mind? Alliance with a Communist country or another Socialist country? What kind of Quisling peacenik are you? Oh, wait a minute…I know. You’re the kind of person that will stay in lockstep with Washington and do what they tell you to do. It’s obvious that you can’t read the Constitution either, since the 2nd Amendment is all about militias. As I said, there’s no reason why a peaceful separation should not happen. The USSR did it.

    Your opinion is welcome here, and opinions are like assholes…everybody’s got one. Don’t think that I won’t comment. You are exactly the kind of people I want to get separated from.

  7. Will May says:

    I’m confused. If there’s no reason we can’t have a peaceful separation, why is it necessary that we have a militia? Why did you include it in the article? I guess I feel like I’m getting mixed messages (both from your comment and within the article itself).
    “A seceding state should revitalize its militia and prepare them for armed resistance and the defense of the borders of the seceding state from invasion by the United States military, its hired mercenaries, or United Nations troops.”

    Despite my low opinion of the federal government, that’s not a price I’m willing to pay. And it’s not just that– maybe this is a plausible scenario in whatever state you have in mind, but I’m working in New Hampshire here. If every man, woman, and child bought a gun and joined the militia, we still wouldn’t stand a chance against a U.S. invasion– or, heck, even a UN invasion. It’s just not a realistic option for us.

    I mentioned China and France as potential allies because of their well-known anti-American sentiment (which makes it a little strange that you would jump from this to me being a tool of Washington). If any influential country is willing to take our side against the U.S., it’ll probably be one of them, or another country like them. I just can’t imagine, say, Britain, backing us up.

    I don’t understand what relevance the U.S. constitution has to a country that has seceded.

    In any case, I’m confused by your reaction in general. All I’m arguing is that war is worse than the federal government. Which seems pretty reasonable to me. At the very least, it’s debatable. And, on top of that, IMO, you’re never going to build strong public support for secession if you imply that it requires some kind of military action. Most people– and I include myself in this group– would not be willing to support it under those circumstances.

    If you want to separate from me… uh, I guess that’s OK…

  8. Will-

    Which is better…resisting an armed gunman with your thumb and forefinger in the shape of a gun, or a real gun? The militia is the very reason for the second amendment. What would prevent Federal troops from an invasion other than a militia? Part of the reason the separation would be peaceful is that a seceding state is willing to fight. Sometimes willingness and ability are enough to stop aggression.

    And for a seceding state, who wouldn’t care anymore about the Constitution, they still need a militia to repel invaders. And just because you state that a militia would not be successful in NH doesn’t make it so. Just your opinion.

    I reject the assertion that secession will bring on war. It didn’t in the USSR, and they won’t have near the problems Washington will have when secession starts.

  9. Mark Weiss, P.E. says:

    History is written that during the American Civil War, the North decimated the south, ensuring that no state would ever attempt seccession again. Why would today be any different?

  10. Will May says:

    On a militia as a deterrent-
    I still think there’s a decent chance this won’t be necessary. If it turns out that it is… we’ll cross that bride when we get to it.

  11. […] step-by-step procedure on how secession should work. I started this process in my article entitled Secession The Hope For Humanity, but I’m fleshing it out here. This is not complete by any stretch of the imagination. But it’s […]

  12. […] step-by-step procedure on how secession should work. I started this process in my article entitled Secession The Hope For Humanity, but I’m fleshing it out here. This is not complete by any stretch of the imagination. But it’s […]

  13. […] step-by-step procedure on how secession should work. I started this process in my article entitled Secession The Hope For Humanity, but I’m fleshing it out here. This is not complete by any stretch of the imagination. But it’s […]

  14. […] freedom of association and individual rights. In practical terms, it may be necessary to practice secession, nullification and, as Hans-Hermann Hoppe has written, particularly in his book, Democracy: The God […]

  15. […] freedom of association and individual rights. In practical terms, it may be necessary to practice secession, nullification and, as Hans-Hermann Hoppe has written, particularly in his book, Democracy: The […]

  16. […] freedom of association and individual rights. In practical terms, it may be necessary to practice secession, nullification and, as Hans-Hermann Hoppe has written, particularly in his book, Democracy: The God […]

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