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An Independent State

February 23, 2017

There’s recently been talk of a movement called “Calexit”—a proposal for California to withdraw from the United States and become an independent nation. It’s not nearly the first or only time in recent history that a state has looked at secession.
Map of United States


The notion of pursuing independence is so strong in Alaska that the Alaskan Independence Party is one of the major political parties in the remote state. Walter Hickel of the AIP (founded in 1984) was governor in the ’90s…but Alaska remained part of the U.S. And as of 2006, it doesn’t look like the independence movement could succeed even if it did gain a ton of traction. A state supreme court case held that secession was illegal under the state’s constitution, and a plan to put a ballot measure on a free Alaska was canceled.


While the state hasn’t looked at leaving the U.S. since it seceded prior to the Civil War, in 2009, the state government set some things in place should it ever feel the need to do so again. The state senate passed a resolution (by a vote of 43 to 1) that proclaims federal control over the state to be invalid—and Georgia’s membership in the union canceled—if the national government ever fell into a state of martial law.


In 2016, the Oregon Secession Act gained enough signatures and support to reach voters as a ballot measure in the 2018 elections. However, the day after organizers submitted their paperwork to state officials, they rescinded the plan in favor of trying to get the movement better organized and focused. (The act also allowed for provisions for Oregon to join up with other possible independent states, such as Nevada, Alaska, Washington, California…or to become part of the Canadian province of British Columbia.)

South Carolina

It hasn’t filed any plans or ballot initiatives yet, but in 2010, the Third Palmetto Republic formed in South Carolina. The group aims for independence for the “Palmetto State.” (The “Third” is a reference to South Carolina declaring independence from England in 1776, and from the U.S. in 1860.)

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