Secession: Are We Free To Go?
Is all the recent talk of secession mere sour grapes over the election, or perhaps something deeper? Currently there are active petitions in support of secession for all 50 states, with Texas taking the lead in number of signatures. Texas has well over the number of signatures needed to generate a response from the administration, and while I wouldn't hold my breath on Texas actually seceding, I believe these petitions raise a lot of worthwhile questions about the nature of our union.
Is it treasonous to want to secede from the United States? Many think the question of secession was settled by our Civil War. On the contrary; the principles of self-governance and voluntary association are at the core of our founding. Clearly Thomas Jefferson believed secession was proper, albeit as a last resort. Writing to William Giles in 1825, he concluded that states:
"should separate from our companions only when the sole alternatives left, are the dissolution of our Union with them, or submission to a government without limitation of powers."
Keep in mind that the first and third paragraphs of the Declaration of Independence expressly contemplate the dissolution of a political union when the underlying government becomes tyrannical.
Do we have a "government without limitation of powers" yet? The Federal government kept the Union together through violence and force in the Civil War, but did might really make right?
Secession is a deeply American principle. This country was born through secession. Some felt it was treasonous to secede from England, but those "traitors" became our country's greatest patriots.
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