John Howell Sr. 11/20/12

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Secessionists would do well to look before leap

Mississippi was quick to jump on the secession petition bandwagon after a Slidell, Louisiana man, disappointed in the outcome of the presidential election, begin a petition for his state to secede from the union. The secession petition movement has now grown to include most states of the union. Backlash against the secessionist petition drive has also spawned a unionist petition drive. And so on.

Mississippi was also quick to jump on the secession bandwagon the last time around. That didn’t go too well.

And if this state did succeed at seceding, it might not go too well this time, either.

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According to the The Economist, during the 20 years from 1990 through 2009, Mississippians paid  $164.7 billion to the federal government in taxes. During the same period the federal government spent $404.6 billion in the state. In other words, this state took in from the feds $239.9 billion more than it paid out.

Of the 11 states that seceded in 1860 and ‘61 to form the Confederate States of America, only Texas, Arkansas and Georgia paid more to the federal government than they took in during the score of years from 1990 through 2009. You can check this web site <>.

The Civil War that followed secession proved disastrous for those 11 states, but it forged this country into a strong union.

We focus much praise on this country’s founding fathers and the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution that they authored. The words in those documents were forged by the fire of the American Revolution and then by the War of 1812.

But the Civil War built on that foundation to define the United States as a strong federal republic and settled the question of union once and for all for most. The union forged by the fire of that civil war grew increasingly more strong through the late 19th Century and through the mid-20th Century.

Ultimately the U. S. was able not only to produce the effort in manpower and material to turn back the threat of worldwide Axis domination in World War II but also to put back the pieces of many broken nations of the postwar world.

That’s what the power of a strong federal union was able to do. The Civil War — the war sparked by the first secession — built on the foundation laid by the authors of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution to turn their words into the reality of what the U. S. eventually became.