Category Archives: Secession

Empire of Atlantium

The Washington Times did a piece on micronations, including the “Empire of Atlantium.”  The article cites a few examples of individuals attempting to live outside the control of the state, but it doesn’t address the issue at hand: is secession of individuals legitimate?

John Locke was rather confused on this issue: he said that the consent of the governed was essential, but that getting explicit consent was impractical (see chapters 8 and 9 of his Second Treatise).  Lysander Spooner was more radical in his No Treason, arguing that those who did not explicitly consent to be ruled by the Constitution cannot be bound by it.

The secessionists discussed in the Times have been largely ignored by the governments from which they seceded.  But it seems obvious that were these “micronations” a threat to the statist quo, they would be crushed.

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State Secession Movements

Someone pointed me to an interesting graphic at the Wall Street Journal showing many of the secession movements in the United States through the years.

It’s not on the map, but the most important successful splitting of a US state, of course, was West Virginia’s secession from Virginia.  And ironically this was done with the approval of Abraham Lincoln while he was waging a war to prevent secession.

One of those states attempting to secede from Lincoln’s Union was Virginia, which had expressly reserved the right to secede from the general government.

A man of principle might have spoke out against both secession movements, or in support of both.  But Lincoln’s principle was the aggrandizement of the Union, not political liberty, so he simultaneously invaded Virginia and supported West Virginia.

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