Secession is the formal withdraw of a smaller political entity from a larger one, usually a nation-state. It is separated from revolution in that it doesn’t necessarily involve a change in the form of government. In the history of the United States, the most prominent example is the secession of the Southern states in late 1860 and 1861, but there were threats from New England in the early 1800s. Recently secession has been talked about in New England (mostly Vermont and New Hampshire), California, Alaska, the South, and Hawaii. These movements are small but are gaining some traction. Outside of the United States, Quebec and Alberta have considered secession from Canada, and history is full of examples of secession.
The Hartford Convention met from December 15, 1814 to January 4, 1815 to discuss the New England states’ qualms with “Mr. Madison's War” (the War of 1812). The New Englanders were upset with the wars interference of trade with England and thought it an ill-thought out attempt to gain Canada. The Hartford Convention recommended 7 amendments to the Constitution and threatened secession if the demands weren't acted upon.
In 1835, after offenses by the Mexican government, the foreign settlers in Texas (primarily Americans) decided to rebel against the Mexican Government. During the siege of The Alamo the Texans decided that it was time to declare their independence. After the Texas War of Independence Texas became a Republic and eventually joined the United States in 1845. See Jefferson State.
The most famous example in US History of secession is the Southern Secession of late 1860 and 1861. After the election of Abraham Lincoln the South felt her power threatened from Northern Republicans. After their secession they formed the Confederate States of America. After 4 years of gruesome fighting in the American Civil War the South lost her independence.
Quebec, because of her French heritage, has talked of secession from Canada. The Canadian Supreme Court decided that Quebec and all other Canadian provinces have the right to secede. Alberta has also considered secession in recent years.
Even though the South lost their war for independence the United States has been the sight of recent calls for secession. In New England many liberals have made calls of secession from the US Government because of the Iraq War and other reasons. The South has had some calls for secession from groups such as the League of the South. Other states that have secession movements are Alaska, Hawaii, and California.
- Graham, John R. A Constitutional History of Secession Pelican Publishing (2002)