Could we soon be adding a 51st state to the union? Riverside County Supervisor Jeff Stone is advocating that 13 counties in the southern half of California break away and form their own state. The idea came as a result of budget legislation Gov. Jerry Brown signed that would divert $14 million in revenue away from Riverside County cities, according to CBS Los Angeles. A spokesman for the governor was quoted as saying, “A secessionist movement? What is this, 1860?”
While this may seem to be a surprising move to Gov. Brown, there is a long history of groups looking to break away from the United States even after the Civil War ended.
* According to a poll sponsored by Zogby and the Middlebury Institute, 22 percent of Americans believe that states have a right to peacefully secede from the U.S. government
* There are at least 46 active secessionist organizations throughout the United States.
* The first annual North American Secessionist Convention was held in Vermont in 2006, reports the Associated Press. The convention is hosted by the Middlebury Institute and the League of the South.
* Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia weighed in on the secessionist debate, stating that the Civil War resolved the question regarding a state’s right to secede, according to the Washington Post. If a state were to try to sue the United States for a declaratory judgement, it would fail. The U.S. government cannot be sued without its consent. It seems unlikely that the federal government would ever allow this type of a suit.
* Counties in Nnorthern California and southern Oregon have been pushing for the creation of a separate state called Jefferson since 1941. They don’t want to secede from the nation; just from their states.
* Jefferson was set to announce its statehood in December of 1941, but the bombing of Pearl Harbor prevented the would-be state from its declaration. Residents of Jefferson focused on the war effort instead, but they did not abandon their movement altogether.
* Possible presidential hopeful Rick Perry suggested that Texas should secede rather than accept federal stimulus funds back in 2009, according to the Huffington Post. He, like many other Texans, believes that the state joined the United States with the understanding they could secede whenever they chose.
* Texas actually joined the union with the option to split into four smaller states, but was never given the ability to secede.
* The Conch Republic, located in the Florida Keys, successfully seceded in the 1980s. It declared war on the United States and immediately surrendered. After applying for foreign aid, the Conch Republic became a sovereign nation as a result of U.S. inaction.
* The 30th anniversary of independence from the United States was celebrated by the Conch Republic in April of this year.
* Residents and non-residents of the Conch Republic can apply for a Conch passport. Though it is not technically a legal document, Conch citizens have used the passport to gain entry into other nations all over the world.
* Alaskan residents have been seeking independence from the United States ever since they became part of the union. They were troubled over the fact that they were only given a yes or no vote on whether to join the country.
* The Alaskan Independence Party is a powerful third party in the state. They are still fighting for an appropriate vote on their statehood. They want the new vote to include the following options: to remain a territory, to become an independent nation, accept commonwealth status, or to become a state.
* According to CNN, the Alaskan Independence Party manages to capture at least 4 percent of the vote in any state elections. While it may not be enough to win, it is enough to affect the outcome of a tight race.