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Secession, State, and Liberty

Edited and introduced by David Gordon

New Brunswick: Transaction Publishers, 1998, with acknowledgment to the Mises Institute.

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"Grant defeated Lee, the Confederacy crumbled, and the idea of secession disappeared forever, or at least that's what the conventional wisdom says. However, as readers of this work will soon discover, secession is of no historical relevance. Quite contrary, the topic is integral to classical liberalism. Indeed, the right of secession follows at once from the basic rights defended by classical liberalism. As even Macaulay's schoolboy knows, classical liberalism begins with the principle of self-ownership: each person is the rightful owner of his or her own body. Together with this right, according to classical liberals from Locke to Rothbard, goes the right to appropriate unowned property.

"In this view, government occupies a strictly ancillary role. It exists to protect the rights that individuals possess independently–it is not the source of these rights. As the Declaration of Independence puts it, "to secure these rights [life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness], governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from consent of the governed.

"But what has all this to do with secession? The connection, I suggest, is obvious: if government does not protect the rights of individuals, then individuals may end their allegiance to it. And one form this renunciation may take is secession–a group may renounce its allegiance to its government and form a new government."

Table of Contents

Introduction ix
The Secession Tradition in America
By Donald W. Livingston
When Is Political Divorce Justified?
By Steven Yates
The Ethics of Secession
By Scott Boykin
Nations By Consent: Decomposing the Nation-State
By Murray N. Rothbard
Secession: The Last, Best Bulwark of Our Liberties
By Clyde N. Wilson
Republicanism, Federalism, and Secession in the South, 1790 to 1865
By Joseph R. Stromberg
Yankee Confederates: New England Secession Movements Prior to the War Between the States
By Thomas DiLorenzo
Was the Union Army's Invasion of the Confederate States a Lawful Act? An Analysis of President Lincoln's Legal Arguments Against Secession
By James Ostrowski
The Economic and Political Rationale for European Secessionism
By Hans-Hermann Hoppe
A Secessionist's View of Quebec's Options
By Pierre Desrochers and Eric Duhaime
How to Secede in Business Without Really Leaving: Evidence of the Substitution of Arbitration for Litigation
By Bruce L. Benson
A. The Declaration of Independence 287
B. The Articles of Confederation 291
C. The Constitution of the United States 299
D. The Constitution of the Confederate States 317
About the Authors 331
Index 333

Related Articles

Secession Is in Our Future
Clifford F. Thie, Ludwig von Mises Institute, 04.28.2009

The Constitution gives the U.S. too much Power
Jason Hommel, Silver Stock Report, 03.12.2009

Ignore the State
Tarran, The Liberty Papers, 02.19.2009

Now is time to proclaim our 10th Amendment right
Doug Gaking, IndyTruth, 02.05.2009

Related Books

Essays on Liberty: Volume 1
Foundation for Economic Education, 1952

Essays on Liberty: Volume 2
Foundation for Economic Education, 1954

Other Articles, Papers, Studies, etc.

The Constitutional Right of Secession in Political Theory and History
Andrei Kreptul, Journal of Libertarian Studies, Volume 17, Issue 4, Fall 2003

Education for Freedom

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