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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.


U.S. Civil War.

See: desertion, expiration, lapse, relinquishment, resignation, revolt, schism
References in periodicals archive ?
Among the biggest misconceptions is the belief that secessionist leaders are democratic; they are anything but.
No wonder the low success rate for secessionist movements, even in Africa.
While investigating secessionist activities for his employer, the Baltimore Railroad, Pinkerton uncovered a plot to kill president-elect Abraham Lincoln.
BJP alleged event was pro- secessionist Incidentally, the seminar held last week was organised by NGO Lehar in collaboration with the political science department.
Protestors say the focus now will be on uniting their fractured secessionist groups to continue their push for independence.
Such tactics allowed North Carolina to exploit a fault line in the frontier elite between the "haves" and the "have-mores"; the former became a Carolina loyalist faction that took the lead in suppressing the secessionists.
The secessionist trend will have grave consequences in the Balkans, especially in Macedonia, which straddles Bulgaria, Albania and Greece, in addition to the independent Republic by that name which seceded from the former Yugoslavia.
Separatists said the explosion was fabricated by security forces to foil the demonstration they hold every Thursday to demand the release of detainees on charges of participating in secessionist activities.
The problem for Confederates after an initial burst of volunteering, however, lay in the fact that many men in the Southern states had no enthusiasm for secession or the new Confederate nation, and thus had little motive for joining the Confederate army after all the committed secessionists had volunteered.
The secessionist impulse is strong, cropping up time and again.
Clearly what hasn't happened is what secessionists wanted, which is complete local control over land use and services,'' said Sonenshein, who served as director of the appointed charter reform commission.
Gitlin changes course midway through Media Unlimited, identifying eight strategies people use to navigate the constant torrent of sights and sounds: those of the fan, the critic, the paranoid, the exhibitionist, the ironist, the jammer, the secessionist, and the abolitionist.