(redirected from secessionism)
Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.
Related to secessionism: secessionist, seceded


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 ?
For the National Dialogue Conference to be taken more seriously, the president needs to head south and tackle the intricate issue of southern secessionism head-on, while the various committees should coordinate more with the southern committee.
Ali Abdullah Saleh has dealt with civil war, secessionism, and terrorism throughout his 31-year presidency.
It shows that the connections among ethnic difference, conflict and terrorism are not automatic, and presents a conceptual framework useful for comparative global conflict analysis and resolution, shedding light on a host of complex issues such as terrorism, civil society, diaspora, international intervention and secessionism.
The 'New Security Concept' makes a distinction between 'traditional' security threats (the danger of invasion by other countries) and 'non-traditional' ones (terrorism, secessionism, environmental destruction, pandemics).
Paradoxically, as also seen more recently in Sudan, attempts to revive the state structure had in fact exacerbated armed conflict and transformed it into insurrections, guerrilla movements and secessionism.
Conness came in third place, with 25 percent of the vote, but the Unionist press was more concerned with the defeat of McConnell and secessionism in California than it was with Conness's loss.
Currently, 15 EU states are confronted with secessionism, including Germany, Spain, France, Italy, Belgium, Cyprus, Romania, Slovakia, and the UK, among others.
This is the story of a slave state surrounded by adjoining free states, of Governor Claiborne Jackson's advocacy of secessionism that failed to find support among a majority of Missouri's citizenry and lead to his being chased by U.
The ascent of the military into politics was very much a function of Kurdish secessionism.
Specific topics addressed include weapons proliferation, the former Soviet chemical and biological weapons complex, counter-insurgency in Colombia, secessionism in China and Central Asia, gender and ethnic conflict, the International Criminal Court's intervention in Uganda, and the epistemology of environmental security discourse and its implications for the security of small island developing states.
8) Thus, secessionism is not so much an ideal toward which one might strive, as it is descriptive of what will inexorably emerge when the gigantic apparatus of modernity breaks down.
He then goes on to discuss latent sub-regional secessionism and, in particular, the case for creating a separate administration for the Ewe-speaking areas of eastern Ghana and a number of issues revolving around Ghana's relationship with its eastern neighbour Togo, which has an Ewe speaking majority.