act of withdrawing from an organization, union, military alliance or especially a political entity

Secession (independence) usually means when part of one country declares its independence and breaks away, or leaves that country to start a new country.[1]

Constitutions of countries may include articles that either legally forbid or allow secession of part of the country.[1] Most national constitutions, which have articles about secession, forbid it, while a few constitutions, such as the constitutions of the former Soviet Union or the former Yugoslavia allowed the secession of their republics.[1]

A secession attempt might be violent or peaceful.[1]

Violent examples include the secession of the 11 southern states (which formed the Confederate States of America) from the United States, which led to the American Civil War and which failed, or the Bangladesh Liberation War of East Pakistan (Bangladesh) against Pakistan which succeeded.

Peaceful examples include the secession of the Soviet republics from the Soviet Union, which led to the dissolution of the Soviet Union.

Threats of secession can be a strategy for achieving more limited goals such autonomy or more devolved powers from the national government of the country.[2]

Examples of giving more delvolved powers to prevent their secession include Quebec, Scotland or Flanders.[2]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Pavkovic, Aleksandar; Radan, Peter (2007). Creating New States: Theory and Practice of Secession. Burlington, VT: Ashgate Publishing. p. 6. ISBN 9780754671633.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Allen Buchanan, "Secession", Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, 2007.