- Politics and Social Issues
The Pros and Cons of Secession
Everyone has the right to get out of a bad relationship, even states or whole countries. The seceding party usually has valid reasons for doing so, particularly if they are the victim of some kind of abuse that could not be rectified within the relationship. The American Revolution was a famous instance of this struggle. However, there have been times when the seceding party is more of an abuser than a victim. The South in the American Civil War and King Henry VIII of Great Britain are two examples of secession gone wrong.
There has been some debate about whether the Civil War was fought over slavery or states' rights, but it was actually both. The right in question was slavery, which had been abolished by President Lincoln. This had actually been a point of contention back during the time of the Revolution, but they put it on hold in the name of uniting against King George. Now that the states had their independence, the south invoked that same clause about "throwing off the shackles of oppression" and withdrew from the Union. Would there have been a Civil War if the contested right had been something other than slavery? There could have been other issues that would have pitted the two against each other, depending on what each valued and couldn't relinquish.
Martin Luther had very valid complaints against the Catholic Church when he founded the Protestant religion. King Henry VIII, on the other hand, wanted to divorce his wife, and broke from the Vatican because Catholicism didn't allow it. Today, divorce is quite common and an important legal option in an abusive situation. However, Henry VIII was not being abused by his current wife; he just wanted to take another wife without being a polygamist. His reputation for being a serial monogamist is infamous, but his personal life choice didn't remain his own. Everyone in the kingdom was forced to join his new religion or be persecuted. In particular, this put every Irishman in Ireland and the main British Isle in a very difficult position. This conflict eventually led to the Irish Revolution and Civil War. In this case, Ireland was very much the victim. Tensions remain high between Ireland and Northern Ireland (a part of the UK) even until this day.
In summation, slavery and religion have been the breaking points in history that have torn countries asunder. People want freedom to do as they wish because they don't see anything wrong with what they want to do. While slavery was important to the economy during that time in history, the abuse of human beings could not stand. The north and the south needed each other more than they needed slave labor. Mistreatment of other races continued to happen, but the cure for old habits doesn't dispense overnight. The same goes for religious beliefs. Until the day that people learn how to stop hurting each other with our decisions, we are doomed to repeat history and continue in its ghostly footsteps. Boo.