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Blue States Press

Heated elections can prompt secession talk

By Dennis Ryan
Published: November 12, 2004

War and its resultant political turmoil always has unintended consequences. The past elections have brought a call from some quarters for secession. The cries have not been numerous, but they are nonetheless disturbing.

This is not the first, or even the second time a section of the country felt alienated enough to speak of secession. The Civil War was not even the first serious attempt at secession.

Western political interests largely instigated the War of 1812.

Henry Clay and others thought Canada would be ripe for the picking, but soon found out otherwise. New England objected strongly to war against Great Britain and its colony Canada, because they engaged in profitable trade with both regions.

New Englanders actually seriously considered secession during the war and continued to trade with Canada during hostilities. The war was not a long one and basically resulted in the return to status quo ante.

Secession soon reared its ugly head again with the South Carolina Nullification crisis. John C. Calhoun and South Carolina broached the idea that a state could nullify an act of the federal government if it ran counter to a state's interests. President Andrew Jackson threatened to go to South Carolina and utilize the hangman's rope liberally, thus ending the crisis.

Secession finally occurred in 1861 and the nation endured four years of bloody civil war. The question of slavery was glossed over in the compromises to form the constitution, when the founding fathers figured it would die a natural death.

They were wrong. Several crises were averted over the years by strong statesmanship and the willingness to compromise, in 1820 and 1850, most notably. Eventually the South broke away with the election of Lincoln.

The Civil War pretty much ended the talk of secession in the United States, until now. But secession has at times occurred amicably. Norway seceded from Sweden in 1905 and the Baltic States left Russia in 1991 and the Slovak Republic was formed out of Czechoslovakia shortly after.

These splits were non-violent and have worked out fine for all parties concerned. The Baltic nations, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia were unjustly attacked by the Soviet Union in the chaos before World War II.

Norway had claims to being a separate cultural and linguistic people from the Swedes. The constitutional democracy of Sweden allowed for a peaceful separation.

Quebec peacefully votes on secession from Canada every few years it seems, but decides to stay.

Many disgruntled blue state voters have been heard to grumble secession after the recent election. Does a state have the moral right to secede? Yes, if a state or ethnic group is subjected to gross violation of human rights, such as is occurring in southern Sudan.

Do the blue states fall into any of these categories? Of course not, they only lost an election.

The question of secession only obfuscates the real problem, the need to perform the hard work necessary to make a democracy work. All the blue states have to do the next time is organize better and sell their ideas better and throw the ruling party out.

Yes, feelings are rubbed raw by the recent brass knuckles campaign, but the great thing about the U.S. is one always has the right and duty to vote again. The talk of secession will dissipate and politicians and concerned citizens on both sides will get down to the tough work of making the country run properly for all citizens.

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