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5 Attempted Secession Movements

July 22, 2016

The U.K. recently voted to separate from the European Union, which prompted talks of Scotland and Wales leaving the U.K. to rejoin the E.U., and Northern Ireland also leaving to reform with Ireland. It’s just talk at this point, but it got us interested in the history of states in the U.S. that expressed interest in seceding and combining.
Map of United States

  • The Delmarva Peninsula is a chunk of land on the East Coast comprising sections of Virginia and Maryland and almost all of Delaware. It’s such a natural land division that as recently as 1998 local leaders have proposed forming a 51st state out of the peninsula but couldn’t gain enough support.
  • New York City is a radically different place than the rest of the state, so much so that in 1969 author Norman Mailer ran for mayor of the Big Apple on the proposal that the city’s five boroughs combine to form a new state. In the June 1969 primary, Mailer won just 5 percent of the vote. His candidacy, and the issue of New York City statehood, was dropped.
  • Did you know that Vermont was briefly its own independent nation from 1777 to 1791? Rejecting claims from both the English and newly formed U.S., the Vermont Republic was among the first areas in the New World to ban slavery. A movement called the Second Vermont Republic was formed in 2003 that seeks to make Vermont independent again, mainly to reject what its members see as the undue “corporate influence” on American politics.
  • Cascadia is a proposed new country that would pull area and population from both Canada and the U.S. Advocates ideally want Washington and Oregon to join up with the Canadian province of British Columbia. (Hardliners want Montana and Idaho to join in, as well as parts of California and Alaska.)
  • The League of the South is a small group that seeks to restore the collective of states that made up the Confederacy—as an independent republic. It briefly ran candidates for office (in the U.S.) as the Southern Party, running on the right of states to ignore federal laws (or secede). Now defunct, it was active in the early 2000s and was most popular in Georgia, where Southern Party candidates ran for state and local offices from 2002 to 2006.
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