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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.

West's Encyclopedia of American Law, edition 2. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
Its successor, a minority coalition led by Socialist Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez, lost support from Catalan secessionist parties this year, prompting Sanchez to call snap elections.
Should Rome fail to reach such a balance, secessionist rhetoric may return.
Of course, secessionists are right to say that the judiciary will not solve the Catalan question.
Detective Kate learned the secessionists planned to strike when Lincoln would be unprotected during a two-mile buggy ride.
According to Smith, the differences between the secessionists and cooperationists that existed prior to the vote for secession retreated into the background as the delegates were forced to deal with the changes that secession brought.
He had sided with Saleh against the southern secessionists. Saleh defeated the latter in a brief war in mid-1994.
Following secessionist activity that culminated in ( an armed standoff in 1997, more diplomatic groups have pushed to get secessionist language onto Republican primary ballots every four years. Former Texas Gov.
THE vice- chancellor of Jammu University dismissed allegations of the state BJP that a recent seminar ' Pluralism in J& K: Crisis and Way Forward', organised by the political science department, was pro- secessionist.
Secessionists argue if they win 68 seats, the result would give them a democratic mandate to initiate a split from Spain that could include a unilateral declaration of independence.
Secessionists undertook, according to Barney, "a suicidal, self-defeating rush to destruction" (33).
The masked secessionists abducted five soldiers along with their arms in al-Dhalea province and took them to an unknown location overnight, the official said on condition of anonymity.
30 as the deadline for the central government to recognize the secessionists' calls for independence for the formerly autonomous southern governorates.