Last week we covered the secession fever that struck 22 states following the presidential election. One week ago, that number was correct but now it has more than doubled. By more than doubled, I mean that now all 50 states want to leave. Yes, there are now secession petitions for all of the states that comprise the United States of America.
We told you in our post last week that we do not seek to be political, we only want to present historical facts that relate to the present circumstances. Therefore, that is what this is. Let us look back to 1860/1861. When the southern states left the Union they had a lot in common, most importantly was their geographic location. What was interesting a week ago was the dispersion of the 22 states that wanted to leave. They were scattered across the country with some in the North, South, and West (see Is it Time to Go Again post).
Differences between the North and South had not just developed in the 5 or 10 years prior to Lincoln’s election and the outbreak of war, but rather the variances began to emerge soon after colonization. Whereas northern colonies were religious, centered around the church, and community oriented, the southern colonies focused on economics, personal wealth, and were often isolated by large tracts of land. Massachusetts and Virginia illustrate this dichotomy. Puritans came to Massachusetts in search of religious freedom with emphasis on the family, church, and surrounding neighborhood. In Virginia, single men came in search of adventure and wealth in tobacco. As the colony grew, settlements expanded into plantations often separated by acres and acres of land. These rifts continued to grow as the economic systems and cultures of the two regions developed.
Many will argue that the South remains a unique region of the nation and surely it does. Today, however, this dispersion tends to be a more rural/urban divide rather than a North/South contrast. It would have been difficult for this bedfellow of 22 state dissenters to find common ground among their grievances to secede much less agree on what to do if secession really became a viable option. While regions preserve their own unique cultures and habits, the country is more alike today than in 1860. Not to mention the amount of northerners who live in the South, or southerners who live in the North. So if it would be hard for 22 leave, what would all 50 presume to do about merging their grievances into one cause? This week, rather than complain about what we do not like about our country, let us be thankful that we live in a place where we have the opportunity to vote and have our voices heard; even if those voices chose to dissent and sign petitions to secede.