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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 ?
In the past month the rebellious, secessionist trends have scored major progress, in the Houthi advances in the northeast, and in the persistent troubles in Aden.
The Gresham area's previous wave of secessionist sentiment came in response to a 1997 proposal to combine Portland and Multnomah services, perhaps even creating a consolidated city-county government.
The revised charter was a pre-secession effort designed to give greater voices to neighborhoods and, in part, to deflate secessionist sentiments that sprouted up across the city in the late 1990s.
Meanwhile, most who would withdraw from the media secede only in part, picking and choosing the elements they want to avoid--making the secessionist, in the end, not so different from the fan.
ADEN, Yemen: Yemeni security forces spread out across the southern port city of Aden Monday, clamping down on any display of secessionist sentiment on the anniversary of the south's independence from Britain.
As the deadline has passed and with the MILF's refusal to grant government demands for them to renounce their secessionist bid and refrain from 'terroristic' activities, the military option against Camp Abubakar is now open,'' Mercado stressed.
Sana'a Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh on Tuesday launched a scathing attack on an exiled secessionist leader describing him as a traitor and agent.
The mayor's money, coupled with several strategic mistakes by secessionists and their failure to raise significant funds, doomed the effort but didn't entirely break their spirit.
At least 41 Muslim secessionist rebels were killed when government soldiers swooped down on a remote rebel camp in the southern Philippines, an army spokesman said Wednesday.
Top Member of Southern Secessionist Yemeni Group Jailed for Ten Years
San Fernando Valley secessionists decided Wednesday against filing a legal challenge to the failed cityhood vote but will push for a change in state law that requires the entire city to vote on the measure.
The government in Sanaa cracked down on secessionists in recent weeks, arresting dozens of supporters.