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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 ?
Crofts, A Secession Crisis Enigma: William Henry Hurlbert and "The Diary of a Public Man" (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State Univ.
DONETSK, Ukraine: The United States Tuesday accused Russia of sending "agents" to stoke a flaring secession crisis in eastern Ukraine that Moscow itself conceded could spill over into civil war.
Northern public opinion was very hard to trace, even for the politicians who were serving that public at the time, and McClintock accurately claims the major reasons for that devolved from the strongly political interpretations that Northerners had of the unfolding secession crisis.
At another public meeting during the secession crisis, the county's citizens resolved, "Texas entered the Union as a free and sovereign State, and that we today hoist the Lone Star Flag as an indication that she will not submit to inequality in the Union but will maintain if necessary her independence out of the Union.
A cursory examination of the letters revealed that their authors fell into five broad categories: those who had consistently supported the Union; those who consistently supported secession and the Confederacy; people who supported the Union during the secession crisis but sided with the Confederacy during the war; individuals who viewed their position as being neutral between the two contending parties; and finally those who offered no opinion or explanation at all.
Slaves had not rebelled for John Brown; during the secession crisis or after the firing on Fort Sumter; after Union victories at Forts Henry and Donaldson; after Union occupation of New Orleans, the Sea Islands, or Tennessee; or as Union forces invaded Virginia.
Then it examines the emergence of these two groups in every Deep South state by midcentury, their importance during the 1850s, and finally the role the two sides played in the secession crisis.
However, Rable might have provided a fuller discussion of the secession crisis by including an examination of Governor William H.
Although estimates vary, the subscription list of the Whig increased dramatically during the secession crisis and may have approached 14,000 (the population of Knoxville barely exceeded 4,000 at the time), reaching more readers than all other newspapers in East Tennessee combined.
The first volume, devoted to the antebellum background of the Civil War, comprises sections on the Founding Fathers and Early National Period, Nat Turner's Rebellion, sectional struggles over slavery, the secession crisis, and the formation of the Confederacy.
But the rebels' attack on Federal and private property during the secession crisis proved that disunion directly threatened Northern prosperity.
From the beginning of the secession crisis President Abraham Lincoln viewed the supposedly loyalist mountain regions as an ideal base for military operations into vital Confederate territory, and a place to drive a wedge into Southern unity.