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Secession is the act of withdrawing from an organization, union, or political entity. Typically there is a strong issue difference that drives the withdrawal. The word is derived from the Latin term secessio.


[edit] Western Hemisphere Secessions and near-secessions

[edit] American revolutions

According to some secession theorists, the American Revolution, in which Thirteen Colonies successfully fought for independence from the British Crown was a secession, as opposed to a revolution. Revolutions seek to replace current governments, while secession movements merely seek separation from current governments. According to this view, the independence movements of Latin American countries were also examples of secession (from Spain). Other positions emphasize the colonial nature of British rule, and the previous restrictions on participation by colonists in the government.

[edit] Northeast US and the Hartford Convention

Opposed to the War of 1812, Federalists from northeastern US states informally convened the Hartford Convention in 1814 at which there was some discussion of secession from the nation. The war ended soon afterwards, and revelations about the secession discussions politically destroyed the Federalists.

[edit] South Carolina

During the presidential term of Andrew Jackson, South Carolina had its own semi-secession movement due the "Tariffs of Abomination" which threatened both South Carolina's economy and the Union. Andrew Jackson also threatened to send Federal Troops to put down the movement and to hang the leader of the secessionists from the highest tree in South Carolina. Also due to this, Jackson's vice president, John C. Calhoun, who supported the movement and wrote the essay "The South Carolina Exposition And Protest", became the first US vice-president to resign.

[edit] Confederate States of America

One of the most famous unsuccessful secession movements was the case of the Southern states of the United States. Eleven states declared their secession from the United States, joining together to form the Confederate States of America. These eleven states were Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Tennessee, Arkansas, Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida. Two other states (Missouri and Kentucky) had factions that also joined the Confederacy. This secession movement brought about the American Civil War. The position of the Union was that the Confederacy was not a sovereign nation but instead a collection of states in revolt. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in the 1869 case Texas v. White that unilateral secession by a U.S. state was unconstitutional and had no force in statutory law. The Supreme Court decision is contested by some historians and legal scholars who view the American Civil War as a conflict between two sovereign entities.

The counties making up what is now West Virginia seceded from the state of Virginia (which had joined the Confederacy) and became the 35th state of the U.S. during the course of the war.

[edit] Texas secession from Mexico

The Republic of Texas successfully seceded from Mexico in 1836. In 1845 Texas joined the United States as a full-fledged state. Mexico refused to recognize Texas independence and warned the U.S. that annexation meant war. The Mexican–American War followed in 1846.

[edit] Failed minor examples in the United States

Local examples of secession also exist, such as the attempt of Staten Island to break away from New York City in the late-1980s and early 1990s (See: City of Greater New York). Around the same time, there was a similar movement to separate Northeast Philadelphia from the rest of the city of Philadelphia, presumably with a new name as well. San Fernando Valley recently lost a vote to separate from Los Angeles in 2002 but has seen an increased attention to its infrastructure needs (See: San Fernando Valley secession movement). Several cities in Vermont including Killington are currently exploring a secession request to allow them to join New Hampshire over claims that they are not getting adequate return of state resources from their state tax contributions.

There have been other modern secessionist movements to create new states. Advocates in the upper peninsula of Michigan, with off and on intensity, have called for it to become a separate 51st state. Another example of the same idea is Southern Illinois. There has been talk of this part of the state wanting to separate due to what locals view as Chicagoan control over the legislature and economy. There are also web sites currently advocating a separate California nation, and independent nation of Hawaii as well as other sections of the United States. It should be noted that after the American Civil War, Congress passed legislation outlawing the act of secession by any state in the Union. A humorous response to an alleged infringement of the Constitutional protection against unlawful search and seizure inspired the failed secession of the Conch Republic in the Florida Keys.

[edit] Canada

See main article: Secessionist movements of Canada.

Throughout Canada's history, there has been tension between English-speaking and French-speaking Canadians. Under the Constitutional Act of 1791, the Quebec colony (including parts of what is today Quebec, Ontario and Newfoundland and Labrador) was divided in two: Lower Canada (which retained French law and institutions, including seigneurial land tenure, and the privileges accorded to the Roman Catholic church) and Upper Canada (a new colony intended to accommodate the many English-speaking settlers, known as the United Empire Loyalists, who had arrived from the United States following the American Revolution). The intent was to provide each group with its own colony. In 1841, the two Canadas were merged into the Province of Canada. The union proved contentious, however, resulting in a legislative deadlock between English and French legislators. The difficulties of the union lead to the adoption of a federal system in Canada, and the Canadian Confederation in 1867. The federal framework did not eliminate all tensions, however, leading to the Quebec sovereignty movement in the latter half of the 20th century.

Other secessionist movements have also existed from time to time in Canada, including anti-Confederation movements in 19th century Atlantic Canada (see Anti-Confederation Party), the North-West Rebellion of 1885, and various small separatism movements in Alberta particularly (see Alberta Separatism) and Western Canada generally (see, for example, Western Canada Concept).

[edit] Norway's secession from Sweden

Norway seceded from Sweden by the Karlstad Conventions of September 1905.

[edit] Australia

During the 19th century, the single British colony in eastern mainland Australia, New South Wales was progressively divided up by the British government as new settlements were formed and spread. South Australia was separated in 1836, Victoria in 1851 and Queensland in 1859.

However, settlers agitated to divide the colonies occurred throughout the later part of the century; particularly in central Queensland (centred in Rockhampton) in the 1860s and 1890s, and in North Queensland (with Bowen as a potential colonial capital) in the 1870s. Other secession (or territorial separation) movements took place around the same time, centred around Deniliquin in the Riverina district and Mount Gambier in the eastern part of South Australia.

[edit] Western Australia

Secession movements have surfaced several times in Western Australia, where a 1933 referendum for secession from the Federation of Australia passed with a two-thirds majority. The referendum had to be ratified by the British Parliament, which declined to act, on the grounds that it would contravene the Australian Constitution.

[edit] United Kingdom

The United Kingdom has a number of different secession movements:

[edit] China

  • Currently, the Republic of China (ROC) government, which ruled mainland China before 1949, administers Taiwan and a few surrounding islands, while the People's Republic of China (PRC) government administers mainland China. Both sides officially claim sovereignty over both mainland China and Taiwan. There is debate in Taiwan as to whether to create a new Republic of Taiwan to displace or replace the current ROC government. This is supported by many in the Pan-Green Coalition in Taiwan, but is opposed by most in the Pan-Blue Coalition in Taiwan which supports continuing the ROC as is, and the PRC government which regards Taiwan as a part of its territory. (The pan-blue coalition is essentially the Kuomintang party, the party of Chiang Kai-shek, which came to Taiwan in 1945 and formerly ruled China.)

See Taiwan independence. It is worth mentioning that as Taiwan was a Japanese colony, ruled by Japan and not China, from 1894 until 1945, since 1894 Taiwan and the mainland of China have only really been politically connected for a period of four years in a period of time that is little over a century. This long term division, particularly during a critical period in the formation of the modern Chinese national identity, has weakened the feeling of connection with the mainland among many Taiwanese, particularly those whose families' residency on the island long predates 1945, and the return to China. (Unlike Korea, most Taiwanese do not have a strong animosity towards Japan.)

  • Within the PRC, the two western regions of Xinjiang and Tibet are also the focus of strong secessionist calls, which are strongly suppressed within the PRC. The dispute is a result of the unique ethnic, cultural, and religious characters of the two regions, as well as differences between the two sides in the interpretation of the history, political status, and human rights situation in the regions. See International Tibet Independence Movement and East Turkestan independence movement.
  • Also within the PRC there has been some talk of secession among the people of inner Mongolia. (While outer Monglia is an independent nation, inner Mongolia is a province of China.)
  • There has been some talk of seccession from China among the minority peoples of Yunnan provice in south central China.
  • One reason why the PRC government is reluctant to consider proposals for formal index for Taiwan is that they feel that by doing so, they would encourage other independence movements in other regions now controlled by China, such as Tibet, Xinjiang and inner Mongolia.
  • At the Third session of the Tenth National People's Congress (March 14th 2005) the Chinese government adopted an 'Anti-Secession Law'. It was created for the purpose of 'opposing and checking Taiwan's secession from China by secessionists in the name of "Taiwan independence" '

The Law includes that Taiwan is part of China and that the unification of China 'is the sacred duty of all Chinese people, the Taiwan compatriots included.'

[edit] Secession in Former Yugoslavia

In the early 1990s, Croatia, Slovenia, and later Bosnia and Herzegovina decided to secede from the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, which resulted in bloody Yugoslav wars of secession (though the Slovenia war was brief and of low intensity, with fewer than 100 deaths on both sides). The problem was that Serbs, who were a constituent nation of Croatia (until their status was unilaterally changed in 1990, against federal constitution) and Bosnia and Herzegovina were against secession. Macedonia, on the other hand, seceded peacefully, not violating the federal constitution. In 2006, Montenegro succeeded in seceding from Serbia, finally putting an end to the state of "Yugoslavia" created after WWI.

[edit] Secession in Former Soviet Union

[edit] Somaliland

Somaliland seceded from Somalia in 1991. To date, it is unrecognized by the UN, nor by any other state.

[edit] See also

[edit] External links

es:Secesión fr:Sécession nl:Sezession


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