Secession: The Lost Aspect of Federalism

The Nation was founded on Secession, Is it time to Consider a National Divorce Once More?


When one looks at America in the modern age, it is a country in turmoil and conflict. The American Right and the American Left are in conflict like many have not seen for decades. Blue States and Red States stand opposed to one another, and the House of Representatives, as well as the Senate, are watched closely in tight margin, the control over which Americans are now far more deeply engaged in than ever. With two such opposing ideologies where we cannot agree on what defines what a “woman” is or where life begins, how reasonable is it for these two groups to be forced into a battle over control of our government? Is it time for Balkanization and a National Divorce as the idea has been floated?

There is a natural apprehension to such an idea being floated, as the idea of secession is attributed to the bloody conflict from 1861-1865, but in reality, there is a far more tamer and historical argument for secession as being very much American.

Our Nation itself was formed of secession, from perhaps the greatest empire of the time. Thirteen colonies separated from the British Empire to form their own Union. What else could such an event be called but a secession movement in the Americas? The very basis of America is founded on an act of secession from a power that the revolutionaries deemed as tyrannical. Thomas Jefferson himself in his first inaugural address stated, “We are all Republicans, we are all Federalists. If there be any among us who would wish to dissolve this Union or to change its republican form, let them stand undisturbed as monuments of the safety.”

If the author of the Declaration of Independence itself was in favor of allowing regions to separate from the Union herself, then who is it to say that the act of secession is not one of American principles. John Quincy Adams, the famed son of John Adams and the 6th President, expressed similarly in The Principles that Bind Us: The Jubilee of the Constitution, “Then will be the time for reverting to the precedents which occurred at the formation and adoption of the Constitution, to form again a more perfect union, by dissolving that which could no longer bind, and to leave the separated parts to be reunited by the law of political gravitation to the center.”. The belief largely of these groups was that the Union was a voluntary one, that the principle of consent of the governed extended to the right to revoke said consent from the government.

The South was not the only region that attempted to secede from the United States, nor was it the first in that respect. Following the Jeffersonian Revolution in which the original Republicans defeated the Federalists and succeeded in the first peaceful transfer of power, the New England states attempted a secession movement to leave the Union. Federalists feared the Louisiana Purchase and the diminishment of New England’s political power in favor of the South and the West. Their arguments aligned similarly to the South, that it was their role as the states to resist the tyranny of the Federal Government. Twenty-Six Delegates gathered in Hartford, Connecticut to discuss secession, ultimately choosing not to do so. However, even Thomas Jefferson wrote to John Breckenridge in August of 1803, “-and if they see their interest in separation, why should we take side with our Atlantic rather than our Mississippi [sic] descendants? It is the elder & the younger son differing. God bless them both, & keep them in union if it be for their good, but separate them if it be better.”

To act as if secession is an inherently anti-American idea is pure lunacy. One may disagree with the reasons in which some have sought after secession while also acknowledging the tool as another in the pocket of state’s rights and Federalism to combat Federal tyranny. Perhaps in such a heated time where the two major factions of America, it is better to allow them to go their own separate ways and forge their own destinies separate from one another?

In New Hampshire, Representative Michael Sylvia from Belmont introduced a bill that would create a constitutional amendment that would separate the Granite State from the Union. It would propose a ballot initiative at the state polls that would read, “Are you in favor of amending the first part of the constitution by inserting after article 7 a new article to read as follows:

[Art.] 7-a. [Independent Nation.] New Hampshire peaceably declares independence from the United States and immediately proceeds as a sovereign nation. All other references to the United States in this constitution, state statutes, and regulations are nullified.” Many Free-Staters and liberty activists in the state see NH at odds with the Federal Government and would prefer to go their own way and become a separate nation.

The Texas Nationalist Movement has started a petition to see the Lone Star State become an independent republic once more. Texas having originally been its own nation after Independence from Mexico, some feel that under the Biden Administration that the state is best on its own. Their petition has been signed by over 400,000 people and continues to gain support every day for an independent nation and a break away from the United States.

A poll of voters across the U.S. has found that over 47% of Western Democrats support secession for their state while over 66% of Southern Republicans feel the same of theirs. If popular sentiment in many regions stands behind such a movement, what is to deny it? Perhaps the best solution to the growing culture war that looks ready to blow, is to break up the nation. The history of America is one of secession and federalism, one that offers a solution to stop the immovable object and unstoppable force that are the American Right and American Left. It may be time for a peaceful National Divorce.

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David Bradly Jr

David is a Rothbardian Libertarian who came into the Liberty Movement because of figures like Michael Malice, Dave Smith, and Scott Horton. From there he found a love for issues of Foreign Policy and Laissez Faire Economics. He currently is a Host of The Road to Providence (On YouTube and Odysee) as well as a Social Media Contributor for the Libertarian Party of Minnesota. You can find him mostly on Twitter @realDavidBJr and Instagram @davidmbradyjr