One more time: No, Texas cannot secede; no, Texas can’t split itself (2012 edition)

Someone in Texas, I swear, sells do-it-yourself-at-home lobotomy kits.  Worse, about 50,000 Texans buy the kits every year, and give themselves a self-lobotomy.  Then, when something happens in national politics or something else that doesn’t please them, having put an ice pick through that part of the brain that carries reason and self-control, and scrambled it, they start spouting nonsense about “Texas ought to secede.”

Texas splits from union, trespasses on Mexico

If Texas seceded from the U.S., would it be trespassing on Mexico?

This issue heated up last just after President Barack Obama took office and stopped the national slide into recession; Texans got ticked off that Obama hadn’t let them slip down the bung hole, and the Tea Party was born to push and make sure no one stopped such a slide in the future.  Rick Perry, our peripatetic occasional governor and head coyote persecutor, threw gasoline on the fire.  I posted this explanation back then.

Comes the 2012 election, Democrats and other supporters of Obama rise up and re-elect him.  One of the previously mentioned fools found a feature President Obama’s team added to the White House website, whereby anyone can start a petition on a subject; Obama being the fair-minded man these fools claim he is not, Obama and his team said they’d answer any petition that got more than 25,000 signatures.  Several people started petitions asking for secession.

Think about that for a moment.  They’re appealing to President Obama to let them secede, because they don’t like Obama’s reelection.  Compounding the irony, they’re using a citizen-feedback system designed by Obama’s team.

But then the pro-secession, anti-Obama people threw all sense to the wind.  This process is almost outside official channels.  While Congress will accept petitions, there’s no guarantee that these petitions will go to Congress — only that the Obama White House will answer the petition in some form.

More than a few of the signers are convinced that if they hit the magic number of 25,000 signatures, the action becomes semi-official and will get real consideration.  Here’s news:  You might get a letter from President Obama.  Won’t that please them no end?

Gov. Perry already disowned the current round of zaniness.  It interferes with the zaniness in the run-up to the bi-annual Texas State Legislature meeting, for which “prefiling” of bills started this week.  Even and perhaps especially political zanies can handle only so much zaniness at one time — they’ve hit their zenith of zaniness for 2012.

But the bloggers and Facebookers still jump up and down.  Now, Dear Reader, you are a person of some intelligence:  You don’t think evolution is “from the pit of Hell,” you vaccinate your children and get an annual flu shot, you haven’t been abducted by alien spaceships recently, you worry that your home insurance will continue to climb until we act as a nation to stop air pollution that causes climate change, you understand Hawaii has been a state since 1960 and so a man born there after that, or at any time after annexation in 1898, is a U.S. citizen eligible to be U.S. president, and you don’t fear the UN is going to come take your golf course away (especially since golf-loving Barack Obama is our president); so I warn you, those yahoos who forgot entirely about the Civil War and think they might get a chance to secede from the U.S. and NASCAR just by putting their name on an internet petition, are not going to believe you, nor will they grant any credence to the facts outlined below, as to just why Texas cannot and will not secede.

But, here’s the explanation, anyway:


Rick Perry put his foot into something during one of the Astro-turf “tea parties” on April 15 [2009].  Someone asked him about whether Texas should secede from the United States, as a protest against high taxes, or something.

The answer to the question is “No, secession is not legal.  Did you sleep through all of your U.S. history courses?  Remember the Civil War?”

Alas, Perry didn’t say that.

Instead, Perry said it’s not in the offing this week, but ‘Washington had better watch out.’

He qualified his statement by saying the U.S. is a “great union,” but he said Texans are thinking about seceding, and he trotted out a hoary old Texas tale that Texas had reserved that right in the treaty that ceded Texas lands to the U.S. in the switch from being an independent republic after winning independence from Mexico, to statehood in the U.S.

So, rational people want to know:  Does Perry know what he’s talking about?

No, he doesn’t.  Bud Kennedy, columnist for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram (still one of America’s great newspapers despite the efforts of its corporate owners to whittle it down), noted the error and checked with Gov. Perry’s history instructors at Texas A&M and his old high school, both of which said that Perry didn’t get the tale from them.  (Score one for Texas history teachers; rethink the idea about letting people run for state office without having to pass the high school exit history exam.)

A&M professor Walter L. Buenger is a fifth-generation Texan and author of a textbook on Texas’ last secession attempt. (The federal occupation lasted eight years after the Civil War.)

“It was a mistake then, and it’s an even bigger mistake now,” Buenger said by phone from College Station, where he has taught almost since Perry was an Aggie yell leader.

“And you can put this in the paper: To even bring it up shows a profound lack of patriotism,” Buenger said.

The 1845 joint merger agreement with Congress didn’t give Texas an option clause. The idea of leaving “was settled long ago,” he said.

“This is simple rabble-rousing and political posturing,” he said. “That’s all it is.  . . .  Our governor is now identifying himself with the far-right lunatic fringe.”

Three false beliefs about Texas history keep bubbling up, and need to be debunked every time.  The first is that Texas had a right to secede; the second is that Texas can divide itself into five states; and the third is that the Texas flag gets special rights over all other state flags in the nation.

Under Abraham Lincoln’s view the Union is almost sacred, and once a state joins it, the union expands to welcome that state, but never can the state get out.  Lincoln’s view prevailed in the Civil War, and in re-admittance of the 11 Confederate states after the war.

The second idea also died with Texas’s readmission.  The original enabling act (not treaty) said Texas could be divided, but under the Constitution’s powers delegated to Congress on statehood, the admission of Texas probably vitiated that clause.  In any case, the readmission legislation left it out.  Texas will remain the Lone Star State, and not become a Five Star Federation. (We dealt with this issue in an earlier post you probably should click over to see.)

Texas’s flag also gets no special treatment.  I cannot count the number of times I’ve heard Texans explain to Boy Scouts that the Texas flag — and only the Texas flag — may fly at the same level as the U.S. flag on adjacent flag poles.  Under the flag code, any flag may fly at the same level; the requirement is that the U.S. flag be on its own right.

Gov. Perry is behind Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison in polling of a head-to-head contest between the two to see who will be the Republican nominee for governor in 2010 — Hutchison is gunning to unseat Perry.  He was trying to throw some red meat to far-right conservative partisans who, he hopes, will stick by him in that primary election.

Alas, he came off throwing out half-baked ideas instead.  It’s going to be a long, nasty election campaign.  [Yeah, those two paragraphs are dated; they are here as historical footnote.]


Update [2009]: A commenter named Bill Brock (the Bill Brock?) found the New York Times article from 1921 detailing John Nance Garner’s proposal to split Texas into five.  Nice find!

Another update: How much fuss should be made over the occasional wild hare move for some state to secede?  Probably not much.  A few years ago Alaska actually got a referendum on the ballot to study secession.  The drive to secede got nowhere, of course.  I was tracking it at the time to see whether anyone cared.  To the best of my knowledge, the New York Times never mentioned the controversy in Alaska, and the Washington Post gave it barely three paragraphs at the bottom of an inside page.

Texas has a slightly grandiose view of itself. TM Daily Post image

Texas has a slightly grandiose view of itself. TM Daily Post image

More and Related Information:

45 Responses to One more time: No, Texas cannot secede; no, Texas can’t split itself (2012 edition)

  1. Ed Darrell says:

    Still there, are they?? Oy.


  2. Ed Darrell says:

    Dallas Voice archives seem to have disappeared. You can find their article on the Texas secession petition on the Internet Archives:


  3. […] One more time: No, Texas cannot secede; no, Texas can’t split itself (2012 edition) ( […]


  4. Ed Darrell says:

    You mean, other than the fact I live in Texas?


  5. Nate Smith says:

    You’re not looking at the bright side. Don’t let Texas secede, kick them out! It would instantly to the US blue and put those problems with the nut job tea parties to rest!

    Why would you even want those crazy texans to stick around?


  6. James Kessler says:

    Well lets see, John. The last two years of w’s presidency we were losing eight hundred thousand jobs a month and the deficit was sky high and the Dow was in freefall.

    We’re now gaining jobs, the deficit is half what it was and the Dow is higher then it ever was under W.

    So your problem with the statement is….what?


  7. john says:

    I immediately stopped reading this article when it stated that Obama stopped America from sliding into a recession. Dumb f—s in the world


  8. […] One more time: No, Texas cannot secede; no, Texas can’t split itself (2012 edition) ( […]


  9. […] “One more time: No, Texas cannot secede; no, Texas can’t split itself (2012 edition)“ […]


  10. Jim says:

    Wow. I go away for a few days, Ed, and the slackjaws all show up and decide to have a convention on your blog. Secession is that big of a draw? Who knew?

    But sorry Rebs, you can’t have it. No, not a square millimeter. Not of Texas, South Carolina, Idaho or Rhode Island. Not even Gary, Indiana. And believe me, that’s tempting.

    We are a union. A collective. A community. We are not a loose affiliation of disconnected, irresponsible rugged individuals. That’s not how we were founded and it’s not how we have weather the many storms. We do it together.

    You can leave. You can stay and complain. Either is your right. Hopefully, you’ll roll up your sleeves and participate. Offer some constructive solutions rather than mind-numbingly inane pablum memorized by watching hours of Fox “News” or listening to talk radio.

    Sorry. You cannot secede. Not allowed. Settled history.

    The old bumper sticker might say it best. You lost. We won. Get over it.



  11. JamesK says:

    To quote:
    When a sufficient group of persons feel oppressed, they must have the right to attempt to break away and form a more representative form of government.

    It’s 600,000 people out of a country of 300 million, Scott. Sorry, in a representative democracy the term “sufficient” better mean far more then a simple majority which 600,000 people out of 300 million people isn’t even close to.

    And by you saying “yeah they’re claims of being opressed has some justification” (yeah i know those aren’t your words but that’s the intent of what you’re saying) you’re spitting in the faces of those who have actually been and actually are being opressed. Like in Syria. Or the residents of Southern Sudan in view of how the people of Northern Sudan treated them.

    There is no oppression going on in a country that just held a more or less free and open election in which these jagoffs lost. In other they are not being oppressed just because Obama won reelection.

    You are imagining fake oppression where is none and blithely ignoring real oppression going on in the world. While also blithely ignoring the fact that the people you’re claiming as being oppressed are the ones actually trying to engage in oppression in seeking to overturn the results of an election in which the majority of the country DISAGREED WITH THEM. This bare minority is trying to abridge the rights of the majority because they’re mad at the results of an election. And you think the “secessionists” are the ones being oppressed? What exactly is the definition of the word “oppressed” in your world? Because it sure as hell isn’t the definition that exists in the real world.

    So, Scott, let me know when you want to deal with actual oppression and then you’ll be worth listening to and treated like an adult. If and until then I’m under no obligation to treat you any better then I do a 5 year old throwing a temper tantrum.

    Lincoln fought to preserve the United States from fools like this…and you want to tell their unintellectual descendants “Sure! Go right ahead!”

    Oh please.


  12. Ed Darrell says:

    Yeah, a lot of people who signed the petition think it’s a grand joke. And perhaps it is.

    But many others, including many signatories, do not regard it as a joke. “Texas Nationalists” who have organized secession meetings in the Dallas area are quite clear that they are quite serious.

    Whether they are so nutty as to take hostages, like the old Texas Republic group did about a decade ago, may be a separate question.

    If you think Texas secession, or any secession, to be a grand joke and that’s why you support the petition. Ha. Joke accepted. Please excuse me if I take a rather wide berth, my not being able to tell whether you are joking, or you are a “stupid hick” as Jason Stanford called the drive’s sponsors.

    But you’re feeding the trolls when you sign that thing, and I wish you’d keep your stand-up routines on stage and out of the White House citizen listening posts — unless, of course, President Obama holds an “Evening of Comedy at the White House” and you get invited to perform.


  13. JamesK says:

    14th amendment 1st clause:
    All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

    Sorry, a state seceding would be violating the part where it says “no state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States.”

    Your claim is now over, done and dead.

    It’s time you knock off the stupidity, Scott. It’s time you stop defending the indefensible.


  14. JamesK says:

    Oh I forgot one.

    I owe you no respect for your dimwitted attempts to balkanize the United States and your even more dimwitted or rather your blatantly dishonest attempts to claim thats not what you’re doing.

    Respect is earned and respect is unearned and you lost any right to respect the second you defended treason.

    If they want to leave the country they can..but if they want to mimic the south in the run up to the civil war they should get the same’s what they would deserve.


  15. JamesK says:

    To quote:
    “we’d put you on trial and execute you for high treason.”
    “rounding up your arse and executing you as a traitor?”

    No, Scott, it’s the punishment for treason. That’s not fascism. Let me make this clear to you..I am talking about the punishment for the act of treason which at times in this country has been death. If the punishment for treason now isn’t death I’m fine with that. I’d be just as content throwing any traitors in prison for life.

    I’m not talking about executing people for spouting off and coming up with a dim bulb petition just because they’re throwing a hissy fit about losing an election. I’m talking about what would happen if they actually did try secession.

    So you are saying its fascism merely because you looked for fascism intentionally and found it….after you created it where it wasn’t.

    So if these jagoffs really did try stealing their states, depriving their states residents of their US citizenship and betrayed the United States why should we let them go? We didn’t after the secessionists tried this crap in the mid 19th century.

    Sorry, what part of there is no right to secede did you miss? If the individuals want to leave the country they can..but they have no right to take their states with them.

    To quote:
    When a sufficient group of persons feel oppressed, they must have the right to attempt to break away and form a more representative form of government.

    Since they are not being oppressed actually they have no right. Sorry, your “principle” as applied in this case stretches the definition of “oppressed” so wide as to be meaningless. It spits in the faces of those actually who have been oppressed.

    If these people whining about losing an election want to leave they can…but again they have no right to take their states with them.

    They have no right to oppress everyone else in their states like that. So you are condoning the “right” of people pretending they’re being oppressed to secede and to engage in actual oppression of everyone else in their state. Sorry…less then a million people in the United States, presuming that these people haven’t signed multiple petitions, should get to decide that every single state in the country gets to secede. How is that not oppression in your view? Why should a bunch of right wing jagoffs throwing a fit because they lost a presidential election get to decide that my Minnesota should no longer be part of the United States?

    Yeah your principle is horsecrap. You ain’t defending the oppressed…you’re defending the oppressors. You aint preventing’re engaging in it. Or did you not happen to notice this little secession petition crap isn’t limited to Texas?

    And sorry..again the US Supreme Court ruled there is no right to secede. So whatever you say to defend yourself and these people, Scott, is crap.

    As for the senate and president bit yeah here’s why it wouldn’t happen. They’re not insane. There are petitions for this crap in all 50 states now, Scott, so would you like to rethink your position when you claim that you’re trying to prevent balkanization? And its not like these people speak for everyone in their states..hell..they don’t even speak for a mjority of the people in their states.

    But there you sit…granting them the right to oppress, using your word, every other person in every single state..all because a very small amount of people are throwing a childish hissy fit.

    As for this: I am really trying here to have an adult conversation with you.

    Let me know when you’re going to start acting like an adult instead of acting like a child blindly defending fellow children in a fight they picked.

    Sorry, your position isn’t rational and it isn’t adult. It’s the position of a child living in an perfect world where if someone says they’re being oppressed it automatically makes it true. An adult would recognize that no..these people are not being oppressed just because they lost an election. An adult would recognize that someone claiming to be oppressed in this country just because their party lost an election is not being oppressed and anyone making that claim is spitting in the faces of those who have actually been oppressed in this world.

    So you want to be treated like an want to be treated with respect? Then earn it. I owe you no respect for taking such a preposterous position.

    So if they want to leave they can find the door and find some other country to live in. But no..they have no right to steal what isn’t theirs to begin with. And nothing you say changes that fact.

    Apparently in your time of living in places where people have actually been oppressed…you have failed to learn what actual oppression is.

    And you think I owe you respect when you’re engaging in the same thinking that makes these people claim that liberal and socialism are the same thing?

    Sorry, unlike you, I don’t try to stretch the definition of words to the point that they’re useless.

    And I owe you no respect for your defending some supposed right to be a traitor.

    So if you want an adult conversation then I suggest you start acting like an adult and stop thinking like a child.


  16. Scott says:


    To Quote …”And no I wasn’t calling for violence against them.”

    Yes you were….Here are the quotes in your responses to PROVE IT

    “we’d put you on trial and execute you for high treason.”
    “rounding up your arse and executing you as a traitor?”

    That IS FASCISM. I disagree with you. nothing more nothing less. Hitler, Pol Pot, Stalin, Castro, and a cast of South American Dictators on the left and right espouse your view of executing persons with whom you disagree. I’ll grant that you at least give a trail in the first case, but to wholesale “round up and execute” citizens for there political beliefs using the army is evil.

    Moreover… My quote regarding the constitutional rights to secede…

    “I am not saying that Texas specifically has the constitutional right to leave. But no one can say it does not have the MORAL right to secede. ”

    I did state that a Presidential Proclamation does not have the effect of law. The president can sign treaties, but they must be ratified.

    Herein is where we disagree, at a fundamental level I am a liberal progressive democrat. I believe we need to try to build a better USA by moving forward with a progressive agenda to include social justice, effective centralized government, and comprehensive social health care combined with aggressive regulation of environmental laws and financial/business institutions. My wife is even further to the left than me, she is a socialist, a card carrying member of PSOE in Spain.

    You are not. I will not make the same mistake you made with me and assume what your beliefs are. I would imagine you and I have many of the same beliefs.

    But here is where we differ. After living in many countries, some free, some not, after living through forced evacuations, coup de etas, wars, riots, general strikes, and other not so nice situations I hold a very dear principle very close to my heart. When a sufficient group of persons feel oppressed, they must have the right to attempt to break away and form a more representative form of government.

    I think that several states in the US are close to that point. I think by letting Texas go, Balkanization could be prevented. As no other red state could stand on its own. But I will concede, i could be wrong on that point.

    Finally, the Supreme Court ruled against unilateral secession. Or Texas seceding without consent of the USA. Nowhere do they say the President could not sign a treaty with Texas granting independence peacefully and then having the Senate ratify that treaty.

    Why don’t you try a different tack…debate me on whether or not it is a good idea for Texas to secede.

    please note…. after three or four of my response to you, I am yet to insult you, call you names or imply you are a “traitor”, “a child”, ” a whinny 5 year old”, “whining little brat”, or ” little one”.

    I am really trying here to have an adult conversation with you.




  17. JamesK says:

    Oh and let me make this perfectly clear to you, Scott.

    The US Supreme Court ruled in 1869 in Texas vs White that there is no constitutional right for any state to secede.

    That by itself proves anything you say to be absolute drivel. So why don’t you do yourself a favor and quit defending attempts at high treason.

    Sorry, we should balkanize the United States because less then a million people in a country of 300+ million people are acting like children over an election?

    Oh please, if you claim to have voted for Obama then you should be smarter then to come up with that crap.

    If those 600k people want to leave they can find the door..they can already leave and go find some other country to live in.

    But the states dont belong to them..they belong to all of us and they have no right to steal our property.


  18. JamesK says:

    To quote:
    But most important, I reject your tone in calling for violence and killing of persons with whom you disagree with. There is nothing more fascist than that. I am not spitting on anyone’s grave for stating the obvious HUMAN right to assemble and proclaim freedom.

    Well they can go to another country if they wish to leave so much.

    But as there is no constitutional right to secede they don’t get to secede.

    And no I wasn’t calling for violence against them. But people actually engaging in treason do deserve to be in prison or do you disagree?

    Oh and by the way..yeah I would have said the exact same thing face to face.

    Sorry, I’m way past sugarcoating things for conservatives whining like little kids because they lost an election.

    Sorry, I see no reason to dismantle the country just because a ignorant few and make no is a very small group calling for secession…decide to throw a fit because they lost.

    These people do not speak for their states there is no reason to pretend otherwise.

    So spare me your lecture on fascism.


  19. Scott says:

    Mr JamesK,

    It occurs to me that the reason you insist on threats and violence and insults to persons you have never met before is due to the fact that the internet gives you a certain level of anonymity. You don’t personally know me, so you feel empowered to threaten and demean.

    So lets fix that. My first name is Scott, I am 41 years old. Married with two kids. Tomas and Emily, ages 9 and 2. I have been married to a beautiful, intelligent, Argentine woman for 11 years. Every day I thank God for meeting her in Caracas so many years ago.

    I am liberal, I have been all my life. I am also a former US Marine, infantry(0352) who served from 1988-1992. I’ve been to Somalia, don’t really want to return. My wife recently got her green card and can’t wait to get her citizenship. She hopes to vote for Hillary one day.

    I voted for Obama, twice. I have lived in countries where I can see the benefits of single payer health care. I have marched against tyranny and oppression in many countries. I have witnessed and attested to same-sex marriages in countries where you could be arrested and thrown in jail for doing so.

    I also believe that this wonderful country has become so divided that in certain cases it is better if the USA would allow certain states to leave. Texas is the best example. You see, the politics of the past 30 years have driven a wedge into the national psyche. The “red” states will continue to resist the progressive demographics that are moving the rest of the country. In 50 years I fear, really fear, the chance of a very bloody and very protracted civil war.

    The best way to avoid that fate is to allow the strongest of the 50 states (in terms of ability to support itself) to leave, and leave quickly. With Texas 38 electoral votes gone, The republicans will never win another election. They will be forced to move to the center. With texas being a solid red state, the republicans always have a chance to win a few swing states and hold us liberals back.

    Now, I patently reject the idea that a free people do not have the right to declare independence no matter what. I also reject the idea that Texas could not support itself. It could, no doubt in my mind.

    But most important, I reject your tone in calling for violence and killing of persons with whom you disagree with. There is nothing more fascist than that. I am not spitting on anyone’s grave for stating the obvious HUMAN right to assemble and proclaim freedom.

    I sincerely hope you are able to put aside your prejudices, hatred, and close mindedness. Speak to me as the adult you think yourself to be.

    Hoping for better



  20. […] One more time: No, Texas cannot secede; no, Texas can’t split itself (2012 edition) […]


  21. John Mashey says:

    I quote those numbers as the best I’ve ever been able to find, but I do not know how they are computed. If you can find out, it would be good.


  22. JamesK says:

    To quote:
    For TX, that claimed $0.94 returned for $ sent to Federal government, but the map in the MJ article indeed mostly agrees with you, except for TX.

    I’m assuming that website is talking about the money the federal government directly gives the state government of Texas.

    I think it’s a bit more accurate if one included the money that texas indirectly gets from the feds.

    Such as the salaries that the 26,000 or so workers at NASA in Houston are paid and then spend in Texas.


  23. John Mashey says:

    No problem, I understand the irritation at certain folks.
    I’m merely proposing a different way to deal with the issue: let them spend time and effort to study what really happens on secession.

    Red state/blue state: I’ve often used the database mentioned in Most Red States Take More Money From Washington Than They Put In, i.e., state-by-state from Tax Foundation.

    That’s from 2005. Do you have anything newer or better? I’d love to hear or any such, especially if they explained more how they compute the numbers.

    For TX, that claimed $0.94 returned for $ sent to Federal government, but the map in the MJ article indeed mostly agrees with you, except for TX.


  24. JamesK says:

    Apologies for the tone I took, John, I’m more then a little annoyed at the secessionist people.

    But no..Texas is not a net contributor to the federal government.

    Less then half of Texas’ budget is paid for by state taxes. And the 15 military bases in Texas contribute nearly $100 billion a year alone.

    The reason all those red states can get away with such low taxes is that the blue states subsidize them.


  25. John Mashey says:


    I know perfectly well that it isn’t legal for TX to secede (or CA, where I live):

    I wrote:
    ‘Let us suppose for a bit that the US decided that secession were legal IF: …’
    That’s a counterfactual for the sake of argument, not a claim that it was legal.

    I allege that there are many people around the US who seem to want to make sure the Federal government doesn’t work (as opposed to recognizing problems and trying to fix them), and often willing to waste a lot of other people’s money to do that. And if there are enough people unhappy enough with the Federal government to want to leave if they *actually* understand the consequences, then maybe it’s time to think about the rules for amicable departures. Again, I recommend study of Quebec, which has made noises forever about leaving, but whenever they actually get a chance to vote on it, it hasn’t happened.

    At least TX is a net contributor the Federal government, unlike a lot of states that complain about it.

    As to size, one can argue: the Scandinavian countries are ~6-10M people each, last I looked, and they’re not bad places. The issue of course for TX (or CA) is the legal/financial disentanglement cost.


  26. JamesK says:


    In accepting original jurisdiction, the court ruled that Texas had remained a state ever since it first joined the Union, despite its joining the Confederate States of America and its being under military rule at the time of the decision in the case. In deciding the merits of the bond issue, the court further held that the Constitution did not permit states to unilaterally secede from the United States, and that the ordinances of secession, and all the acts of the legislatures within seceding states intended to give effect to such ordinances, were “absolutely null”.[2]

    There, that settles the whole secession bit.

    Those talking about it can kindly be quiet and sit down until they can act like grown ups.


  27. JamesK says:

    First off, John, the US Supreme Court ruled that secession is unconstitutional in 1869. So Texas has no right to secede whatsoever.

    And as for this: Anyway, especially given that TX is one of the few states big enough to even think about secession,

    No really they’re not. Those 15 military bases you cite…yeah they contribute $100 billion to Texas economy every year. Then there is the 1 billion in Pell grants that students in Texas get every year and the approximately 5 billion that NASA contributes.

    Plus there’s all the start up costs that an independent Texas would need to engage in. You building their own military and storing their own nuclear waste and their own post office, highway system.

    THen there is the fact that companies in Texas would be paying far higher taxes to ship products back into the United States.

    And oh yeah..who would the Cowboys, the Astros and the other Texas professional sports teams play again? Because yeah Canada tried having their own and gee..they almost all folded.

    Plus why would we let Texas’ universities and colleges play games against college and universities in the remaining United States?

    Plus there’s that whole border fence thing and the fact that within 15 years Texas will only be 1/4 white in population….

    So quote Billy Crystal…have fun storming the castle.

    If Texas seceded Texas would be reduced to a third world country inside a year.


  28. John Mashey says:

    Both numbers and legal agreements matter, and the latter may well be harder than the former, although they certainly interact.
    Among the myriad of interesting questions:

    For example, here’s a list of US military bases in TX.
    Presumably, if TX secedes, all those would be closed down, and service personnel (~200K) relocated if they wish. Perhaps the rest of the US would want to rent bases, but I suspect we’d be much more likely to reopen bases around the country. If TX wants to use the bases, how much do they pay for them? How big a DoD does TX want for itself?

    Likewise, there is NASA Johnson Space Center..

    Then there are the Forest Service agreements that bring firefighters from other states, especially when Ricky Perry reduced the training for volunteer fire companies.

    Of course, via secession, TX wouldn’t be bothered by existence of FEMA, so maybe we should get started on this before the next big hurricane hits.

    Anyway, especially given that TX is one of the few states big enough to even think about secession, and with advantage of more-or-less self-contained power grid, and since it’s one of the noisier states about secession, I really think it is time for TX to do a serious analysis of the plusses and minuses of leaving, rather than the endless complaints.


  29. […] One more time: No, Texas cannot secede; no, Texas can’t split itself (2012 edition) […]


  30. JamesK says:

    And don’t spit on the graves of the Founding Fathers and those who fought in the Revolutionary war by claiming that you and your fellow traitors are anything at all like them.

    You’re not like the Founding Fathers…you’re more like the Nazi’s sabotaging democracy in the mad quest for power.


  31. JamesK says:

    To quote: It’s really not nice to call people child.

    It’s not nice that you and your fellow conservatives are acting like wannabe traitors just because you’re throwing a hissy fit that the “Scary Black Man in the White House” won reelection.

    If you hate democracy..if you hate the United States so much then get your arse out of the country. I suggest Somalia and take the rest of your fellow wannabe traitors with you.

    You simply no longer belong if you can’t stand the fact that living in a democracy means that sometimes Republicans lose.

    Sorry, little one, you have no right to secede. You can leave the country but all the 50 states are bound to the United States for now and forever…they simply don’t belong to you.


  32. JamesK says:

    To quote:
    It’s really not nice to call people child. I myself am 40 and no child, my aching knees would attest to this fact.

    For Texas to declare independence is no more an act of treason than when 13 colonies declared independence from King George in 1776.

    Then stop acting like a whining child just because the guy you don’t like won reelection. Same goes for the rest of your fellow “secesisonists”

    And by the way..yeah to the British Government the people who declared independence from the British crown were traitors.

    You see history is written by the winners in war and there is no way in hell any secessionist would win. SOrry, if you want to engage in treason then kindly do leave the country. But your state stays because your state doesn’t belong solely to belongs to all of us. And you have no right to deprive any US citizen of their citizenship in the United States. You know the 14th amendment? Yeah secession is a violation of that.

    Lastly again..the US Supreme Court ruled in Texas vs White in 1869 that there is no right to secede.

    If you don’t like the country, child, then leave. You want to spout treason then leave. But you do not hold the high ground here…

    …all you and your fellow conservatives spouting this nonsense is a bunch of whining 5 year olds throwing a hissy fit because you’ve forgotten that in a democracy sometimes your party loses elections.

    Your side so loves to claim that it’s the party of uberpatriotism, that it’s the party of America is the bestest country on the planet and all that.

    And yet there you sit acting like a whining little brat throwing a temper tantrum.

    But why don’t you try answering that if you did secede what’s to stop the US government from sending in the military and rounding up your arse and executing you as a traitor?

    It’s not like you’d be able to defend yourself here, your side would have no chance in another civil war.

    So it’s time you shut up and start acting like a rational adult who understands that you’re living in a democracy and not a one party Republican dictatorship where your precious conservatives are guaranteed power.


  33. Ed Darrell says:

    John Mashey, there you go making sense, again.

    Yes, you’re right: The numbers might tell a story different than the advocates want to hear, and making them figure that story out should cool their separationist ardor.

    But if they were wont to run numbers, they wouldn’t make such a bizarre plea in the first place, would they?

    Gov. Perry’s talk today — “not for it” — I think is tempered partly by his desire to run for the U.S. presidency again, but even more by the corporations headquartered in Texas asking whether they must move — Exxon-Mobil, AT&T, Bell Helicopter, etc. For liability reasons, and tax reasons, they’d need to move to the U.S. from a seceded Texas.

    No one’s running the numbers yet, especially not the advocates (Dan? Scott?).


  34. Ed Darrell says:

    So, Dan Rainey, you’re saying that the “five state” language actually was just territorial division language, not necessarily applying to splitting Texas, but instead to the disposal of other lands Texas had from Mexico, that were not part of the State of Texas as admitted, right?

    Same language as in other territorial governing laws.

    Thanks for the language; got a link?


  35. Dan Rainey says:

    Here are the facts about Texas’ ability to split itself: The Joint Resolution of Congress creating the State of Texas in 1845 reads:

    “New States of convenient size not exceeding four in number, in addition to said State of Texas and having sufficient population, may, hereafter by the consent of said State, be formed out of the territory thereof, which shall be entitled to admission under the provisions of the Federal Constitution; and such states as may be formed out of the territory lying south of thirty-six degrees thirty minutes north latitude, commonly known as the Missouri Compromise Line, shall be admitted into the Union, with or without slavery, as the people of each State, asking admission shall desire; and in such State or States as shall be formed out of said territory, north of said Missouri Compromise Line, slavery, or involuntary servitude (except for crime) shall be prohibited.”

    The provisions of the U.S. Constitution mentioned in the above resolution are found in Article 4, Section 3 of the document: “New States may be admitted by the Congress into this Union; but no new States shall be formed or erected within the Jurisdiction of any other State; nor any State be formed by the Junction of two or more States, or parts of States, without the Consent of the Legislatures of the States concerned as well as of the Congress.”

    In reality the U.S. Constitution allows every State (through their legislature) the ability to split itself as many times as they like provided they can get the U.S. Congress to agree.


  36. John Mashey says:

    As it stands, a bunch of Texans are mad at the White House/ Federal government.

    Let us suppose for a bit that the US decided that secession were legal IF:

    1) The state went through a serious exercise with the Federal government in figuring out how this would actually work, including taking their share of national debt, figuring out agreements with adjacent states, what their resulting legal system would be, etc. I mean: take it seriously. Most of the analysis should be done by the state, first including looking very hard at the transfer of money in or out of the states. (Last I looked, CA transfers the largest $$ to the Federal government, and VA gets the largest ##, although those are totals, not per capita.)

    2) Given the structure of an agreement, the state can vote to leave. Either an X% vote is enough within the state, or perhaps it requires a Y% vote from the states, or an OK from Congress.

    In all seriousness, there are some states that have enough people who want to reject science they don’t like to pass laws against it, and some would probably take the vote away from women, blacks and Latinos if they could. (Hmm, I guess some tried.) Many would be happy not to be bothered by the EPA, FDA, etc. If enough really want to leave, we should think about defining an orderly process to let them, while helping people in those states relocate if they wish. That ought to be part of the deal.

    But maybe if people had to look at the real consequences, and there was a defined process, they’d either DO it or stop complaining about the Federal government and actually try to help it work better. It is instructive to study Quebec, for which there has been a mechanism to leave, but they have always blinked, so far.

    Of course, a few states (esp. TX, CA) are big and populous enough to be countries, whereas many are not. The latter would likely have to get together in groups if they wanted to leave, or perhaps TX+the South would leave together. Geographically, the easiest departure would be CA (plus OR and WA if they happened to want to leave, too.). Likewise, perhaps OK would go with TX.

    In any case, see Nine Nations, although it splits a lot of states up, which is likely really awkward.


  37. Ed Darrell says:

    NEWS FLASH… Everyone already knew this was going nowhere including the people that signed the petition along with the citizen in Arlington that started the thing!

    Okay, then please explain how the signers are not stupid hicks, for wasting anyone’s time with this?

    (P.S.: Texas Nationalist Party is on all five news stations in Dallas denying your claims, saying this petition is the road to secession, and claiming to be serious. But I sorta digress, introducing facts and reason to the discussion.)

    You’ve got a floor here. You claim your freedoms are being eroded? Before I call equine manure on your claim, do us the favor of explaining exactly which freedoms you think are being eroded, and how the Obama administration has contributed to that erosion.

    And then please defend your claim that you’re not a whiny yahoo: Tell us how secession could possibly fix things.


  38. Ed Darrell says:

    Scott, you may be right; I may have erred on Texas’s taking of federal money; but . . .

    Here’s the listing for Texas at a Mother Jones discussion of the same thing:

    Federal spending received for every tax dollar paid: $0.85
    Rank: 33
    Rank in 2005: 35
    Federal spending received for every tax dollar paid per capita: $1.19

    I remembered the $1.19 figure. Now that I look at it again, I wonder what “”for every tax dollar paid per capita” means.

    But you’re right on the simple calculation, and I erred: Texas isn’t as much a Taker as I thought.

    More recent figures at Daily Beast:


  39. Scott says:

    james K.

    It’s really not nice to call people child. I myself am 40 and no child, my aching knees would attest to this fact.

    For Texas to declare independence is no more an act of treason than when 13 colonies declared independence from King George in 1776.

    Threats of violence are also kinda uncool. There are lots and lots of people in Texas that have formed groups advocating independence, none of them have been hanged, shot, or even tried for treason. Ironically, the Constitution protects their rights to assemble, protest, petition, and speak freely.

    It’s when persons such as yourself start saying we need to be killed for our beliefs that make us think we are no longer in a free country. thus maybe we need to leave so we don’t get shot by overzealous Yankees.

    Oh, and Mr Darrell, lots of great insight there. But short on facts.

    Texas gets .8 of every 1.0 we put into the federal coffers back. So we are a net loser to the Fed. If you want a specific source I can provide. (the .8 is my own calcs, I do this for a living) You asked for a specific reason as to why it would benefit Texas. Ok, fair question. First you must accept that due to it’s agriculture, oil, and separate power grid, it is technically feasible. Texas does not NEED the USA. We are self sufficient in resources, access to ports(oceans), industry, refining, utilities, and military. So what does the USA provide that Texas, if left to itself could not provide? We have no Income Tax, so that line that used to read FICA on your paycheck would say TICA and provide income to the state to provide services. Our schools are funded by property tax, and oil and gas ad valorem tax. I would challenge you to name one service, just one, that a properly constituted Texas government would not be able to provide.

    And to all the real smart guys out there that area holding on the that Presidential Proclamation in 1866 that “made secession illegal” please read your constitution and recall that presidential “proclamation” are not binding. Only congress can enact laws. There is NO law against secession. If the Proclamation of 1866 ended the states right to secede, then it would have to be ratified by the Senate as all treaties agreed to by the executive.

    I am not saying that Texas specifically has the constitutional right to leave. But no one can say it does not have the MORAL right to secede. We all hold that right.


  40. dan says:

    This is hilarious. I accidentally ran across this and began reading it while I was under the impression that it might be something factual. After about 3.5 seconds it was oblivious it was nothing more than a mind numbingly stupid rant. I am probably dumber for having read this but it did have some comical value.
    The bone head that wrote this is obviously under some sort of impression that he has some superior intelligence that allows him to realize that the petitions to the White House will “go nowhere”. He was obviously the product of the every child gets a trophy because they are all winners program. I am sure they are still on his window sill and his Mommy dust them once a week when doing his laundry.
    NEWS FLASH… Everyone already knew this was going nowhere including the people that signed the petition along with the citizen in Arlington that started the thing! The first petition was for the State of Louisiana and was started by a gentleman in Slidell. One in Texas soon followed and at last count I think the count was 47. I hate to bust his bubble but do any of us believe if they get 25,000 signatures the state is then officially out of the union?? Does anyone even believe it will get a meaningful answer from the White House?? Most normal people already realized this and never thought any differently but the fact that this guy knows so much about lobotomies might have a little something to do with him being slower.
    The petitions are nothing more than a symbolic protest. Did the LGBT community think protesting Chic-Fil-a was going to change the CEO’s position on social issues? Did hippies think a war protest was going to pull the troops out of Vietnam?
    The dumbest statement I think had to be “No, Texas CAN’T secede” Granted, I don’t see it happening but to say they can’t secede is the equivalent of your boss telling you you can’t quit! I am pretty sure King George said the same thing a couple hundred years ago.
    I will try to break this down for him and make it as simple as possible……
    People are sick and tired of watching the liberties slowly erode, fiscal insanity, and disregard for the 10th amendment by an overreaching government. It is a symbolic protest sort of like Occupy Wall St. but without violence, drugs, rape or public defication.
    The country is extremely polarized and ignorant rants like this article from either side that widen the divide. With such a divide it makes it hard for Texas or Louisiana to be governed the same as New York or California. There are many people in this country that are not radical right wing extremist nor far left loons. We simply want to get up in the morning, go to work, work hard for what we get, raise our kids and give them the same opportunities we had or MORE. We just want the federal government to start doing there job and not try to do things that aren’t. I would say that maybe they past out the “lobotomy kits” in San Fransisco that caused them to overwhelmingly be for late term abortion but not keeping pet goldfish because it is cruel. I think they would have to be brainless in New York to need the government to tell them what size soda they are allowed to have. I will never understand that type of lunacy but I don’t have to. That is THEIR choice. That is why they are a “blue” state and vote Democrat. That is fine but do not push it on me and I will not push my values on them. This is why one government should not try govern the entire country under a single blanket. That is the reason we have state governments WE ARE 50 INDIVIDUAL SOVEREIGN STATES. That is why the federal government needs to do their job and ONLY their job.
    Let’s be reasonable here, if California wants to provide free gender reassignment surgery, that’s fine but don’t ask Texas to pay for it. If New York wants to pay for some women’s birth control, that is fine but don’t ask Louisiana to pay for it and they won’t ask New York to buy lift kits for their trucks!!!! Government regulations have gotten way out of control and that is what brings upon polarization and talks of secession. If there was a far right wing extremist in the White House pushing his agenda and outlawing abortion, making church mandatory or forcing people to buy a bible, it would be the same outrage from the blue states.
    In closing, before writing something as divisive as this article was, please think. You are entitled to your opinion just as anyone else. However, when I hear the left knocking and trying to belittle other view points or lifestyles in the name of tolerance, it makes their opinion completely irrelevant and hypocritical. It makes you no better than a racist, homophobe or or bigot. If you were a far right extremist I would be telling you the same thing. It is time we all quit trying to run each others lives.!


  41. Ed Darrell says:

    ObjectiveJack, you’d do well to study Jefferson’s views on secession. Racist though Jefferson may have been in many ways, he’d oppose a stupid secession movement by “stupid hicks” (Jason Stanford’s term) and Jackwagons who fuming because a smart guy from Hawaii won a second term as president.

    Makes your surfing style look bad?

    If you had a real complaint, I’d take you seriously. Maybe you’re saying we should take the movement seriously because you’re all nuts?

    Civil unrest in this country? Cubs fans didn’t riot. One team from Texas seems to have a real shot at the Super Bowl. The GOP “block the vote” efforts didn’t work out so well — you’re imagining a lot, if you see unrest.

    Did some of the electors lose their faith in capitalism? Fortunately for us, they just vote for the President. If anything, Obama has relied way too much on unfettered free enterprise. With record corporate profits and the highest stock market in years, if you’re arguing that Obama’s a socialist, you really should pay attention to the civil rest in this nation, and the stock market. Record profits and high stock market mean Obama’s either a crappy socialist, or a true free marketeer.

    Are you a Texan? Texas is one of those states that gets more from federal coffers than it pays in. Texas doesn’t fund socialist activities, Texas is a Taker, sucking at the sugar teat of federal largesse.

    You’re right, we should listen to the secessionist movement. Then we should get serious about high school education in history and government, because it’s clear you didn’t get it. Maybe if we listen, we can figure out what their problem really is.

    Reality is, U.S. debt was much higher at the end of World War II than it is now. You know what “The Greatest Generation” did then? To avoid another recession, they doubled down, and borrowed hard. They used that borrowed money to fund the GI Bill, the greatest aid to education program in the history of the world, AND the greatest housing assistance program in the history of the world. They borrowed to build the Interstate Highway System, they borrowed to build the Flaming Gorge Dam and the Glen Canyon Dam. They borrowed to finish rural electrification, and to finish flood control dams in the Tennessee Valley.

    Then they tripled down. They borrowed to rebuild U.S. industry after the war. They borrowed to rebuild the industry of our allies, England, France, China, Belgium — and even the Soviet Union (USSR didn’t take the money). They borrowed to rebuild our old enemies, Italy, Germany and Japan, on the realization that healthy economies in international trading partners make for peace and less war.

    Had you been alive then, you would have said:

    We need a balance of Free Market and adequate Rule of Law or our economy is going to collapse. Obama funds his programs out of the pockets of American Texans. We don’t have any more to give.

    And had anyone listened to you, we’d have missed out on the greatest economic expansion by one nation in the history of the world.

    Go on and dream your pathetic dreams of rebel flags on fading-paint, vintage pickup trucks, and dusty roads and backwater small towns where nothing ever seems to happen much good. The rest of us live in the real Texas, a diverse state in the United States of America, a key economic player, and not willing to waste our time on stupid hick pipe dreams. Got tickets to the Houston game Sunday? Are you really willing to give that up? For what?

    I’m willing to listen to your case. Is there any logical reason for Texas to want to secede? Is there any conceivable advantage for the state, for the people?


  42. JamesK says:

    It’s unconstitutional, child. If you tried it we’d put you on trial and execute you for high treason.

    You have no right to secede. If you want to leave the country go right ahead…but your state stays.

    So spout off whatever right wing drivel you want but you are a traitor to the United States.


  43. Thank God for Thomas Jefferson who wrote:

    When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation. We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. (if you don’t know what this is, be embarrassed, then go google it)

    Some of you who think this succession talk is silly, better pay attention to the amount of civil unrest in this country and start holding our elected officials accountable or we are going to be in trouble. Anyone who voted for Obama voted for a man who has lost his faith in capitalism and the free market. They voted for a man who ran against Bush using his 5 trillion dollar deficit against him – then turned around and raised the deficit more in half the time. We need a balance of Free Market and adequate Rule of Law or our economy is going to collapse. Obama funds his programs out of the pockets of American Texans. We don’t have any more to give. We need to wake up as a nation before our pathetic national leadership inspires another Thomas Jefferson. If you want to know how something like this can happen, read “Defiance” by Tom Ryker – a current top seller. This best selling conspiracy/thriller is so down to earth and close to the truth it will scare you, and you’ll be waiting for it to raise its ugly head on the evening news.


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