A House Divided: Why Talk Of Secession Is Making A Comeback

In 1858, a young, yet-to-be-bearded man named Abraham Lincoln campaigned against Stephen Douglas for the United States Senate. During this campaign, he proclaimed, “A house divided against itself cannot stand”, to explain the dangers in remaining a country so divided. Historians recall this time in American history as a dark point in our national history as compromises and buried issues came to a head and polarizing factions ripped this young nation apart. I wonder what Mr. Lincoln would say about politics today.

Growing discontent with the federal government has manifested in recent decades in the form of calls for increased state sovereignty. These calls have been unanswered and now, the discussion has changed from passive calls for the right to self-governance, to whispers of the states’ rights of secession.

To be clear, this author is not advocating any stance, per se. I am, however, illustrating that this once-radical, fringe notion better suited to militias in Idaho has gained acceptance in recent years amongst mainstream society. This fact indicates that while calls for state secession may not be the norm, it is not unusual, and discontent with our current system of federalism seems to be rising.

In a recent Rasmussen poll, 24% of American adults believe that states have the right to secede and form their own country if they wish. Just under 60% said that states do not have that right and 16% were undecided. While the acceptance of the idea of secession is not the majority, it has risen 10 points since 2010, when the question was first asked. In 2011, 21% of American adults agreed that states have the right to secede.

The same survey asked whether the federal government is a protector or a threat to individual rights. The majority- 51% of adults asked- claimed that government was a threat to individual liberty while 34% saw the federal government as the protector of rights. As this is supposed to be a government of, by and for the people, this is startling news.

It’s not hard to see why people feel disconnected from their government; The federal government has been out of the business of public service for quite some time.

This, in addition to a litany of other offenses, would have King George III crying foul. But, the American people have been patient as the gradual overstepping of government increases. It appears, however, that 51% are fed up with the feds, and 24% are recognizing a viable solution to an old problem.

Speaking to a Tea Party crowd in 2009, Texas Governor Rick Perry commented that Texas had the right to secede. Whether someone agrees with it or not, secessionist talk has officially reached the mainstream political discussion when sitting governors may speak candidly about the possibility.

Secessionist talk serves as an interesting manifestation of the discontent by the people for the federal government. While some may have a knee-jerk reaction to regard this growing sentiment as the exclusive domain of militia members and nut-jobs, the fact remains that the polls indicate a growing favorable opinion amongst mainstream society. While most would agree that secession is an extreme action that may not be in the best interest of the people, we must still confront the fact that the federal government seemingly no longer aims to dutifully represent it’s citizens. That is precisely why state governments were afforded considerable powers that have subsequently been usurped by the federal government (See the 10th Amendment for details).

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5 Responses to A House Divided: Why Talk Of Secession Is Making A Comeback

  1. Lunatic Fringe says:

    Ya know, This may not be such a bad idea. I’ve felt for some time that we true conservatives, and the true believer progs, will never see eye to eye on anything. Just split the country in two,and give everyone time to get to the half they want to be in. Then we can build a wall to keep the progs from coming in and screwing up our new country…..again. Let them live in the mess they will surely make of their side.

  2. Dagny says:

    I agree and will be glad to move to a real “America” – sick to death of liberals refusing to look at or believe facts that are right in front of their faces, and dragging all of us down to poverty and death with them while we sacrifice & fight for their right to whine! It would be a great joy to see them tax and spend themselves into starvation as they sit around pontificating, finger-pointing and blaming everyone but themselves for their own failures over $5.00 lattes at Starbucks! HA HA!!!

  3. Judy Lamppu says:

    We often wonder if there were any way to divide our country up so we could have the government we want and let those who want something else have what they want. Trouble is, the liberals would soon be fighting to take our side back to force us to support their losers.

  4. Ray Hall says:

    The only thing that keeps the “United States of America” united is the strength of the U.S. Dollar. In every other conceivable way the union is divided. The major key to the independence of individual states is creating an autonomous currency and commercial system to that of the U.S. Dollar and Wall Street. Now how that gets done is completely beyond me.

  5. Taradacktyl says:

    LEAVE!!! God Damn it! Who the hell is stopping you? STOP WHINING AND LEAVE you freakish, tedious, bores!! Try the Libertarian paradise of Somalia. Send us a post card… if you can find a post office, that is.

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