The Many Benefits of Secession

July 9, 2010

by Michael Cushman

When our Colonial ancestors decided to break away from Great Britain in 1776, they first listed in the Declaration of Independence their justification for seceding from the British central government. They wrote,

“[W]hen 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.”

With this belief in the right of secession stated, they then went on to list the many abuses they had suffered under the British government. This list implied that in free American States the people would no longer have to endure such violations of liberty and would enjoy the benefits of self-government.

Numerous other successful secessions since have allowed people greater freedom and self-determination: Greek independence from the Ottoman Empire, the Hungarian split with the Soviet Union in 1989, Singapore’s secession in 1965, Ireland’s independence from the UK and countless others. Indeed, if one compares a map of the world today to one from sixty years ago one will immediately notice the that today there are more sovereign countries.

And then if one compares today’s world map with one from a hundred and sixty years ago the increased number of free countries today becomes even that much more obvious. There is a general trend in the world for empires and large multi-national countries to split up into smaller, more manageable units, for freer trade to prevail and for greater human liberty to be recognized. This global movement towards devolution and freedom is one of the most positive trends in history and holds great promise for the future if it is allowed to continue.

Back in 1993, Dr. Hans-Hermann Hoppe wrote a short paper titled Nationalism and Secession (Chronicles) which laid out many of the benefits that this world-wide movement towards secession potentially holds. Among the many benefits of secession he described were tendencies towards the following: moderation in government, fewer regulations, lower taxes, voluntary separation and peace (as opposed to forced integration and conflict), free trade, economic integration and development and increased opportunity for diverse ethnic, linguistic, religious and cultural groups to survive.

Today, the public in the United States is upset with scope of Federal intervention into the economy in particular. This has been a key motivating force behind the Tea Party movement. From the banker bailouts to Cash for Clunkers and Cap and Trade proposals, one major Federal intervention into the market after another has angered millions of Americans and raised talk of nullification and other devolutionist methods of stopping the DC Leviathan. Ultimately, secession holds the key to eliminating Federal manipulation of the market and restoring economic freedom.

Dr. Hoppe argues persuasively, “A small government has many close competitors, and if it taxes and regulates its own subjects visibly more than these competitors do, it is bound to suffer from emigration and a corresponding loss of future revenue. Consider a single household, or a village, as an independent territory, for instance. Could a father do to his son, or a mayor to his village, what the government of the Soviet Union did to its subjects (i.e., deny them any right to private capital ownership) or what governments all across Western Europe and the United States do to their citizens (i.e., expropriate up to 50 percent of their productive output)? Obviously not. Either there would be an immediate revolt and the government would be overthrown or emigration to another nearby household or village would ensue.”

Imagine free American States and even perhaps free counties and city-states across North America in competition for the smallest amount of taxation, regulation and government intervention in general. In such an environment people would be largely left alone and bothered no more by such present menaces as the IRS, OSHA, HUD, the Department of Education, the CIA and countless other Federal agencies which grow fat on our tax money, limit our liberty and cripple the market and voluntary society in general. In such a Federally-free environment as Dr. Hoppe envisions, families and distinct cultures would be free to a degree not possible today to promote their own values and maintain their historical identities.

Foreign interventionism would virtually disappear over night as the military might of the US was dispersed to the various localities across North America. Churches and local, organic communities would regain a central role in society. Immigration would be allowed to the extent that local communities consented or refused. All the important issues that currently divide the 300 plus million people of the present, imperial-like government known as the United States would be locally handled.

Imagine a free America… and then join with your fellow patriots and secessionists and help make it happen.

Michael Cushman is a South Carolinian with family in the Palmetto State going back to the earliest days of the Colony before the Revolutionary War. He received a B.A. in History from USC-A and taught English in Spain for four years. He is now a Masters student at Augusta State University.

Originally published at