Historical Path Dependency and Secession
UVA Law Faculty Affiliations
At the conclusion of Part I of American Secession, Frank Buckley declares that “it’s time to think seriously about Secession 2.0 as a possibility.” I have to confess: I don’t know whether to take that statement at face value. Is the argument of this book serious or not? At the very end of the book, Buckley reveals himself to be a Unionist, apparently, and the book is a merely a polemic or a thought exercise. We should take the possibility (threat?) of secession seriously in order to avoid it. If Americans thought that secession were a real possibility, they might be more willing to compromise with those who disagree with them politically. But is secession really on the horizon? There was a culture of threatening secession on the eve of the Civil War, which functioned for a good long while as a negotiating tactic in order to win many concessions for slavery. But secession is not part of the political discourse in today’s America, unless Buckley intends his book to spark such a conversation.