Secession


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Related to Secession: Secession War

Secession

The act of withdrawing from membership in a group.

Secession occurs when persons in a country or state declare their independence from the ruling government. When a dissatisfied group secedes, it creates its own form of government in place of the former ruling government. Secessions are serious maneuvers that lead to, or arise from, military conflict.

A secession can affect international relationships as well as the civil peace of the nation from which a group secedes. Most countries consider secession by a town, city, province, or other body to be a criminal offense that warrants retaliation using force. Because the primary mission of most governments is to maximize the comfort and wealth of its citizens, nations jealously guard the land and wealth that they have amassed. In rare cases a government may recognize the independence of a seceding state. This recognition may occur when other countries support the independence of the seceding state. However, for most countries, the involuntary loss of land and wealth is unthinkable.

Most countries have laws that punish persons who secede or attempt to secede. The United States has no specific law on secession, but the federal government and state governments maintain laws that punish Sedition and other forms of insurrection against the government. On the federal level, for example, chapter 115 of title 18 of the U.S. Code Annotated identifies Treason, rebellion, or insurrection, seditious conspiracy, and advocation of the overthrow of the government as criminal offenses punishable by several years of imprisonment and thousands of dollars in fines. These are the types of crimes that can be charged against persons who attempt to secede from the United States.

The U.S. Civil War was the result of the single most ambitious secession in the history of the United States. In February 1861 South Carolina seceded from the Union, and Virginia, North Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Texas, Arkansas, and Tennessee followed suit shortly thereafter. These states seceded because they objected to attempts by the federal government to abolish the enslavement of black people. The mass secession led to four years of civil war and the death of hundreds of thousands of people. The seceding states established their own government called the Confederate States of America and fought the U.S. military forces with their own army. When the Confederate forces were defeated in April 1865, the seceding states rejoined the United States.

Cross-references

U.S. Civil War.

See: desertion, expiration, lapse, relinquishment, resignation, revolt, schism
References in periodicals archive ?
After the secession vote, Richman said he asked the state legislative counsel for an opinion on whether the law could be changed to allow just the Valley to vote on cityhood.
Kowaloff, a sole practitioner and a counsel to the Building Industry Association of New York City, said Staten Island secession may cause a problem for a small real estate developer.
So why didn't Mayor Hahn fix our plumbing before he used taxpayer money to oppose secession, granting City Hall unions yearly 4 percent and 5 percent across-the-board pay raises until today the average worker in City Hall makes more than the average taxpayer.
We must recapture the can-do spirit that defined the secession movement and fight to make reform a reality.
Secession involved the state's most populous city; the recall involves the country's most populous state.
Katz said his contract with Fleishman-Hillard ended in September 2002, two months before voters citywide rejected secession, which got a majority of support in the Valley.
According to tenant advocates and city officials - both of whom campaigned against secession - rents throughout the city have surged by 50 percent since 1995, fueled in no small part by illegal evictions and the large number of buildings exempted from the law entirely.
Rather than being chastened and humbled by secession, City Hall has grown more arrogant and disdainful of the public's needs, of the public's values, of the public's interests.
Larry Levine, a Sherman Oaks political consultant who worked to oppose secession, acknowledged the effort had value in provoking discussions about the city and its government that otherwise would not have occurred.
After the meeting, however, Bort said Valley VOTE and other groups shouldn't rule out future secession bids because the threat alone puts pressure on city officials to improve services in the Valley.
At least three different political organizations are forming in the Valley in the wake of the campaign, and many of those involved in the election say that, even though secession failed, they are prepared to fight harder than ever for Valley interests.
It is my hope, and perhaps the hope of the more than 117,000 Valley citizens who voted for secession, that the San Fernando Valley secession movement not give up.