13 November 2012

Secession is nothing but revolution. - Robert E. Lee

Secession is nothing but revolution.... It is idle to talk of secession: anarchy would have been established, and not a government, by Washington, Hamilton, Jefferson, Madison, and all the other patriots of the Revolution.  
-Robert E. Lee, Letter to his son, 23 January 1861. 

There has been a lot of excitement recently about petitions from angry people who are displeased about the President's election to a second term. While I understand that others are less-than-thrilled about this event, I am curious as to why they believe that their state's secession would fix their problems. If anything, seceding from the United States and forming a group of sovereign states is a disaster for all but a few states.* 

I mean, did they ever take a history class? 

No, I'm not talking about the failure of the seceded states during the Civil War. Go back a little further. No, not the threatened secession of New England due to the War of 1812. Further back. 

The Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union didn't go well for us. Sure, there were some good points, such as each state setting their own laws based on cultural values, and the great loyalty each person felt for his or her home state. Ultimately, the weaknesses became too much for our fledgling nation, and led to the creation of our stronger government. 

Yes, according to some of our Founders, states have the right to secede. We have the right to do many other things too, such as drop out of high school, drink ourselves to death and destroy our own property. Most of us would agree that those actions aren't good ideas. 

Secession today is also not a good idea. Most states struggle with their budgets, and that's with federal assistance. What will states do when they suddenly have international borders to protect? Where will they draw the secession line? Can counties secede (as when West Virginia left Virginia)? What about townships? 

  •  Economy: 
Will the newly seceded state mint its own money? Will other states recognize that currency? What about trade between other states? Tariffs? What are they producing inside the state already that will be valuable for international trade?

  • Defense: 
Militias are great, but where will struggling states get the money for all those weapons needed to compete on an international level? How will they fund their military? Is this a volunteer militia only? Conscription? How will service be enforced if Michigan invades Ohio? What if Iran invades Tennessee? Will Arkansas come to its rescue, or will Arkansas be too busy worrying about incursions from Texas?

I strongly suggest not going the other way. 

  • Infrastructure: 
Those Federal Highways aren't going to maintain themselves. Many of Oklahoma's state roads are pretty bad. I'd hate to have to drive on the roads after the federal dollars are lost. 

"A man must be far gone in Utopian speculations who can seriously doubt that, if these States should either be wholly disunited, or only united in partial confederacies, the subdivisions into which they might be thrown would have frequent and violent contests with each other....To look for a continuation of harmony between a number of independent, unconnected sovereignties in the same neighborhood, would be to disregard the uniform course of human events, and to set at defiance the accumulated experience of ages." 

-Hamilton, Federalist Papers


* TX and FL might be able to do it, due to their population, location and resources already in place.


  1. This is the political equivalent of holding your breath until you turn (for lack of a better word) blue.

    Just another step towards the Tower of Babel.

  2. Perhaps you should read a bit of this - http://athousandnations.com/
    Small nations are more desirable for a thousand different reasons.