Secession Petitions: What They Mean In The Context Of History

(WHNT) – Recently a slew of petitions popped up on a government-run website asking for individual states to secede from the US.  

The petitions range from hundreds to thousands of signatures.

Though practically, the numbers aren’t that important.

Athens State University History Professor Dr. Sean Busick explains, “Certainly right now the talk of secession truly isn’t feasible.  At least, I perceive it to be a protest.”

But internet secessionists are just the latest breed in a long line of American secessionist movements.  

Dr. Busick notes the movements aren’t that uncommon, “Countless small ones.  A handful of big ones though.  You can make the case that the American Revolution was a secessionist movement.”

That’s right; the country was born out of its own type of secession.

And it didn’t stop there.

Dr. Busick explains, “The first major secessionist movement after that though would have been in New England, which probably surprises a lot of people, because everybody naturally associates secession with the south.”

He’s referring to the Hartford Convention, which pushed for secession around the War of 1812.

Then of course we saw the secession that led to the Civil War.

Athens State History Professor Sean Busick says history shows the similarity between the two is simple, and it very well could extend to today’s movements as well.

Dr. Busick says, “It’s perceived as a remedy for people who consider themselves outsiders.”

He adds during the Hartford Convention, northerners felt southerners would forever dominate American politics, and leading up to the Civil War, southerners felt their interests similarly suppressed.

So maybe what we draw from this group of internet secessionists is that there’s a sense of gloom going forward.  

If it fits the historical pattern of secession, maybe it isn’t just anger that certain values didn’t triumph at the ballot box, but instead fear that those values won’t get their proper due going forward.

As for the secession petitions though, Dr. Busick argues, “I think this is largely symbolic.  If you’re serious about the secession, you don’t ask the federal government’s permission.”

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