Five Secessionist Plans Brewing in America

These places truly want to be lands of the free

A handful of secessionist groups nationwide are looking to create a more perfect union—just like the Founding Fathers once did. What this country really needs, they say, is a few more states.

In four regions across the U.S.—northern California, northern Colorado, western Maryland and northern Michigan—Americans are pressuring their county governments to secede from their states. Locals say they’re fed up with their state legislators, who don’t represent their needs and values. Meanwhile—news flash—many Texans still want to form their own country entirely.

“It’s symptomatic of polarization,” explains David Karol, professor of government and politics at the University of Maryland in College Park. “These [issues] are popping up in regions that are out of touch with the rest of the state.”

Karol adds that because much of this talk occurs on the internet, secessionists can believe that their movement is bigger that it actually is…in reality. ”People can find kindred spirits even if they’re a small minority,” Karol explains.

Whether secession is even legal in the U.S. is up for debate, depending on how one interprets the Constitution.

The last region to secede and become its own state was West Virginia, which left Virginia in 1863 to join the Union during the Civil War. Scholars doubt that these latest secessionists will have the same success. “They obviously won’t accomplish their stated objectives,” writes Robert Mickey, professor of government and politics at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, in an email.

But they sure are trying.

1. Oregon and California’s State of Jefferson 

The latest secessionist chatter is emerging from Siskiyou County in northern California, just across the southern Oregon border. Siskiyou’s organizing body is calling on nearby counties, such as Tehama County, to join in and be a new state called Jefferson: “a proposed U.S. state that would span the contiguous and mostly rural area of Southern Oregon and Northern California.” The county voted earlier this month to seek secession in California’s state legislature and hopefully in U.S. Congress.

Siskiyou locals at a town meeting in August said California’s government is not adequately addressing the needs of the county. ”We have to have government that’s local, understands our issues and has empathy,” explains Mark Baird, a rancher and radio host who is organizing the movement.

More than 2,000 people are in favor of the new state on Facebook, where much of the conversation seems to be playing out.

2. Colorado’s North Colorado

In the northeastern tip of Colorado, eight counties (Weld, Logan, Sedgwick, Phillips, Washington, Kit Carson, Yuma and Cheyenne) want to form their own separate state: North Colorado.  The counties will vote in November on the initiative. If successful, the counties will ask the state legislature to go to U.S. Congress in support of the bill.

Most of the counties in question are rural communities dependent on the oil and gas industry, and locals say they’re fed up with the state’s push for renewable energy, which jeopardizes their economies. An organizing body called the 51st Star Coalition seems to be the top contender to lead the new state, if it ever exists.

3. Maryland’s Western Maryland 

A new secessionist movement is also brewing in five counties in western Maryland. Garrett, Allegany, Washington, Frederick and Carroll counties plan to give up on the Free State in favor of their own, which they’re appropriately calling Western Maryland.

The counties have pulled together an organizing group called the Western Maryland Initiative. Leaders say they are fed up with their state legislators. ”The gerrymandering and lack of representative government are our primary concerns,” explains activist Scott Strzelczyk, the movement’s head.

The Initiative has the support of more than 4,500 on its Facebook page.

"It's about the rights to self determination and self-governance—50 is not a magic number."

Scott Strelczyk

4. Michigan’s Free State of Superior

Organizers in northern Michigan and northern Wisconsin are coming together in support of a new state, which they’re calling Superior. “Michigan state government has grown out of control, especially under the latest crop of legislators,” explained a member of the Northern Michigan Liberty Alliance, a “collection of liberty-minded citizens” angry with the federal government, in a rally.

The group is (naturally) rounding up ideas for Superior on its Facebook page:

5. Texas

Oh, Texas. The Lone Star State just wants to live up to its name. If Texas Railroad Commissioner Barry Smitherman has his way, the entire state will soon secede from the U.S. and form its own country.

According to Smitherman, these plans wouldn’t be difficult to execute. “We are uniquely situated because we have energy resources, fossil and otherwise, and our own independent electrical grid,” he told right-wing media organization WND. “Generally speaking, we have made great progress in becoming an independent nation, an ‘island nation’ if you will, and I think we want to continue down that path, so that if the rest of the country falls apart, Texas can operate as a stand-alone entity.”


The following opinion(s) were not solicited by the author and aren’t the views of Vocativ, but we love hearing from our readers. So please send us your points of view at Maybe we’ll make it a part of the piece.

Before you get all hot and bothered one way or another, consider this point of view from citizen of America’s neighbor to the north, where secession attempts have come and gone like a blast of Arctic wind.

I think the notion of forming a new state by seceding from an existing state is quite a different matter than a state leaving the USA. The separation into a new state, is really about splitting the existing country into different pieces. It is not a treasonous or illegal act. On the other hand, by definition, the act of Texas unilaterally seceding from the USA is a non-starter. It is illegal and, at best, would have to be mutually agreed upon by Texas and the rest of the country.

Check out the situation with the province of Quebec and Canada and see what transpired there. In a Canadian context the situation was resolved by agreeing that the province, if it wished to form a separate country, would have to negotiate with the rest of Canada about the terms of separation.

However, the event could not occur until a referendum, with a properly worded question on the population’s desire to secede was passed by a majority of the people in the province.

Quebec has had two referendums and is still trying for another. However, like Texas, it’s base for this kind of thing is reducing as time passes.

And the referendums have all failed. I might add, even with loose and slanted wording written by a provincial separatist government with a view to getting people to vote for a form of separation that actually retained the benefits of being a province!

I think these renegade movements are springing up out of the extreme division being promoted (yes, promoted!) by American political leadership. This is particularly coming from the Right, the GOP and the radio show hosts that are running divisive policies even further out to the extreme and linking it to divisive, controversial issues like guns, religion and racism.

America needs to bring its politics back to a unifying, common sense, mainstream place. One where people say, “Yeah, I am American and proud of it.” I have certain beliefs, and yet there are many differences I might have with my neighbours. I don’t mind that because the ties that bind us are stronger than the issues that divide us.

Paul Stewart is a Canadian with a keen interest in U.S. and world politics. Tweets @PaulStewartII.

Respond Now
  • The largest employer in Maryland as a whole is the NSA. I’d be disturbed too…

  • California should be broken up into 2 or even 3 states.

  • If Texas becoming its own country means the US would be spared the procession of presidents and wannabees like the shrubs and perry, then by all means….kick them out of the US and let them suffer their own leaders.

  • people that live in these regions are equally dependent on their state and federal government. they fail to understand the term “economies of scale” when it comes to delivering common services: police, fire, education, care for the poor/disabled/elderly, air/rail transportation, etc. They are too ignorant to realize the higher the population concentration the lower the cost for these services. I was awed by the Colorado House of Reps member back in 2006/7 for bringing a bill to the floor to help fund a school in an area that likely had less than 20 students. Folks who choose to live in these nice but out-of-the-way places have a distorted sense of reality and are ignorant as to how federal tax revenues are distributed and spent by their states. Before they argue for secession, they should choose to run for public office in their state. It would be easier and have a bigger ROI in terms of time, effort, and outcome.

    1 Reply - Reply Now
    • The state of Superior is pure fantasy. Once upon a time it might’ve been possible, back when mining was still a big industry in the UP. But today the region couldn’t support its own infrastructure needs, even if it maintained the current tax rates (which the “liberty” crowd don’t believe in). Like the poor Southern states where people grouse about seceding from the US, they don’t realize just how much money they *get* from the central government.

  • “These [issues] are popping up in regions that are out of touch with the rest of the state.”

    um the exact opposite is true urban areas are far out of touch with the rest of state. Its plain and simple representation inequality; we all know what happens when people feel unrepresented in government…

  • If these people ever even come as close as a millimeter to success, the federal government will simply brand them crazy and/or terrorists and murder them en masse (see global history for that little epiphany). Seeking government that represents the needs of the people and does what it is supposed to do (sans the graft, waste, and corruption) is sane. Seeking to do it in the United States where the Constitution is meaningless and democracy is a merely buzzword is insane.

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  • Prayer: Dear god, please let Texas secede from the union, and make it so the New Mexico legislature passes a law that Texans can no longer own property in my home state of New Mexico. Thank you lord, Amen!


    1 Reply - Reply Now

  • What about the new US state of dumbfuckistan?


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