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Secession, State and Liberty

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The essays here argue that the political impulse to secede--to attempt to separate from central government control--is a vital part of the Lockean classical-liberal tradition
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The essays in Secession, State & Liberty argue that the political impulse to secede--to attempt to separate from central government control--is a vital part of the Lockean classical-liberal tradition, one that emerges when national governments become too big and too ambitious.

Unlike revolution, secession seeks only separation from rule, preferably through non-violent means. It is based on the moral idea, articulated by Ludwig von Mises in 1919, that "no people and no part of a people shall be held against its will in a political association that it does not want."

These important essays--which cover philosophy, history, economics, and law--argue that the threat of secession should be revived as a bulwark against government encroachment on individual liberty and private property rights, as a guarantor of international free trade, and as protection against attempts to curb the freedom of association.

This volume is composed of these eleven essays:

  • The Secession Tradition in America (Donald W. Livingston)
  • When is Political Divorce Justified? (Steven Yates)
  • The Ethics of Secession (Scott Boykin)
  • Nations By Consent: Decomposing the Nation-State (Murray N. Rothbard)
  • Secession: The Last, Best Bulwark of Our Liberties (Clyde N. Wilson)
  • Republicanism, Federalism, and Secession in the South, 1790 to 1865 (Joseph R. Stromberg)
  • Yankee Confederates: New England Secession Movements Prior to the War Between the States (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 (James Ostrowski)
  • The Economic and Political Rationale for European Secessionism (Hans-Hermann Hoppe)
  • A Secessionist's View of Quebec's Options (Pierre Desrochers and Eric Duhaime)
  • How to Secede in Business Without Really Leaving: Evidence of the Substitution of Arbitration for Litigation (Bruce L. Benson)

Included as appendices are the text of:

  • The Declaration of Independence
  • The Articles of Confederation
  • The Constitution of the United States
  • The Constitution of the Confederate States


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by Terry
on 3/28/2023
from Llano
Indispensable Primer
First published a quarter-century ago, these 12 essays still provide a perfect starting point for the salient arguments regarding secession. 

Editor Dr. David Gordon, always the dispassionate philosopher, gives the introductory essay that provides the necessary context from Locke to Allen Buchanan to Mises. Gordon first considers arguments based on the central function of the state as a tool to secure rights. But he offers other grounds for argument, which are provided by the remaining 11 contributors.

Contributor Donald Livingston considers the centrality of secession to Jeffersonian America; Steven Yates considers the ethics of secession; Clyde Wilson holds state sovereignty as the only bulwark against overweening federal power; James Ostrowski examines the legal arguments; Hans-Hermann Hoppe addresses the European context; and Desrochers and Duhaime provide counterexamples from the Québec attempts at secession. 

This book should be your first read on secession.
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ISBN 9780765809438
Publisher Transaction Books
Publication Date 02/25/2002
Binding PB
Page Length 344
Dimensions 6x9

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