May 10, 2009

For many, the question of American secession was settled once-and-for-all by Abraham Lincoln’s military victory against the South in 1865. Not so, writes author Kirkpatrick Sale: “Of course it is true that the particular secession of 1861-65 did not succeed-but that didn’t make it illegal or even unwise. It made it a failure, that’s all. The victory by a superior military might is not the same thing as the creation of a superior constitutional right.”

Sale raises a good point. If the Founding Fathers had lost the American Revolution to Great Britain, then would the question of the colonies seceding from England have been decided forever due to nothing but a military loss? It seems that most would consider the idea that the U.S. could still exist today as an outpost of the British Empire just as laughable as many find secession.

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