Secession

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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.

West's Encyclopedia of American Law, edition 2. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
It must be made known to such ignorant minds that while some Northern Ewes were making demands on Gen Acheampong that they wanted to secede, people in Oti had long started filing petitions for the request for their own region.
Vanquished, Biafra was finally reintegrated into Nigeria.MILITARYbrWhen the Northern Frontier District of Kenya attempted to secede shortly after independence to be part of what was then known as Greater Somalia, Mzee Jomo Kenyatta's government responded with ruthless military force, ending the Shifta insurgency in 1967.Some attempts to secede have come at a massive economic cost.
In California, most secession efforts have focused on a part of the state seeking to secede from California, rather than taking the state out of the Union.
The state of Jefferson charade has resurfaced a few hours' drive down Interstate 5, when the Siskiyou County Board of Supervisors voted 4-1 this month to secede from California.
In Most Likely to Secede, editors Ron Miller and Rob Williams have gathered insightful, sometimes radical, essays from experts in government, economics, and environmentalism who call on Vermont to lead the way in demonstrating their belief that small-scale governance works better for everyone.
Some felt it was treasonous to secede from England, but those 'traitors' became our country's greatest patriots."
11 ( ANI ): Texas is waiting for President Barack Obama's reaction to a petition demanding it be allowed to secede from the United States, and they might have to continue waiting.
Catalonia is toying with a notion to secede from Spain.
"The movement to secede is a great representation of how divided our country is, but, from a practical standpoint, it's just weird," says comic creator Russ Kazmierczak, Jr.
The two, who also attended the meeting, have already offered to secede from their respective parties to join the new party.
South Sudan became independent after voting to secede in a January referendum, the culmination of a 2005 peace deal after decades of civil war.
Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir supported the January referendum that paved the way for the oil-rich south to secede and become the world's newest country on Saturday.