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 ?
The secessionist group, correctly reading the animus of Igbo immigrants in Germany, tactically provided the needed platform to advertise its relevance and signal that the theatre of action is shifting abroad.
But Spanish authorities insist that they have no choice, that the Spanish judiciary is impeccably independent, and that they are simply asserting the rule of law in response to the Catalan secessionists' unconstitutional moves.
This, of course, creates a problem for secessionist movements and makes the prospect of a unilateral secession much less appealing than one that was civilly negotiated between a region and its former country.
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Traders are certain of improvements soon in the economy of Buldon town - birthplace of the 1970s "Black Shirt" secessionist group - with the government's firearm reduction drive taking off in the area.
Paine's task was to enforce discipline and mollify the secessionist majority in a 2,300-square-mile district.
Paine, who commanded the US ArmyAEs District of Western Kentucky at Paducah in the summer of 1864 during the Civil War, to enforce discipline and mollify the secessionist majority who supported the Confederacy, secessionists who saw his time there as a oreign of terroro and his actions to be an invasion and occupation, rather than meant to protect the region.
The secessionist plan had been set back a few months, but our intelligence sources from the rebel camps were quite certain that the secessionists were determined to follow through their plans, especially that of setting up a separate government before the end of January 1973.
Among the biggest misconceptions is the belief that secessionist leaders are democratic; they are anything but.
By MARIA NZOMOAttemptsat secession in Africa havefacedhuge challengesas the UN and the global community increasingly become anti-breakaway andmother states dig in andbecome ruthlesslymilitaristic.This has hampered secessionist efforts of even thosethat have similar political history to Eritrea, including Somaliland andformerBritish South Cameroon, now part of ex-FrenchCameroon.
Catalan pro-independence parties have held their absolute majority in snap regional elections, dealing a severe blow to the Spanish government, which had called the polls in the hope of heading off the secessionist push, The Guardian reported.
China generally takes a dim view of independence or secessionist movements around the world, while saying it adheres to a policy of non-interference in other nations' internal affairs.