An Independence Day “What If?”

the_united_states_of_colombia_by_steampoweredwolf-d8knysyWhile visiting another blog, the topic of the legal right of states to secede arose. I was prompted to visit a number of articles on it, including the one in Wikipedia which I think is remarkably good and comprehensive of the others. What surprises me is the legal controversy of the matter. A good case can be made, I think, for either side but it is the precedent of the Civil War that towers above all other arguments, including those about what the founders really thought and what the Articles of Confederation implied.  Such matters can turn either way on the opinions of 8 or 9 mere mortals, thus pointing to a prime importance of the upcoming election.

On this Independence Day I find myself musing about what history might have looked like had the South successfully seceded or if Lincoln had lost the nomination or the election? Either could have easily happened through faddish public sentiment.  Would either nation have participated in the Spanish-American war or World War I? Would Hawaii have even become a state? Would the South have also declared war after Pearl Harbor? Perhaps the Japanese might not have attacked at all, a divided America being less of a threat to its ambitions. (My concern for how easily events can overtake mere arguable law were heightened by having just finished season 4 of House of Cards.)

Would Europe now be part of the Third Reich? I think it not only possible, but likely. WW II was a close thing and it all hung on a knife edge on June 6, 1944, even with the combined strength of a United American military.

About Jim Wheeler

U. S. Naval Academy, BS, Engineering, 1959; Naval line officer and submariner, 1959 -1981, Commander, USN; The George Washington U., MSA, Management Eng.; Aerospace Engineer, 1981-1999; Resident Gadfly, 1999 - present. Political affiliation: Democratic.
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5 Responses to An Independence Day “What If?”

  1. PiedType says:

    When you think of all the things that might have gone differently along the way, it’s pretty amazing that we are where we are today. I think there’s far more precedent for preserving the union now than there was at the time of the Civil War. We’ve come this far and it’s worked pretty well. Seems to me there’s a lot more security today’s world in a solid union than as a lone state that has just seceded.

    I really need to finish House of Cards. I’m half way through the last season and in that show, anything could happen!


  2. Always interesting to think “what if..” I still indulge in What if Al Gore had moved into the White House (as I think he should’ve). Garrison Keillor ponders also … ” And will we be next? The Trumpster went around banging his dishpan, whooping it up for ignorance and superstition, and if he triumphs, then there goes Texas. … If it happened there, it can happen here. The embittered granddads outvoted the ambitious young, the old soaks at the Cock ’N’ Bull struck a blow for stupidity, and now cadres of suits and wingtips will have to negotiate a way out of the mess. ” Well, Garrison Keillor is fun to read, even when he’s reminding us of petrifying possibilities. I wonder if the fiasco with Bill Clinton at the airport made a President Tump less unlikely.


    • Jim Wheeler says:

      Well said, Helen.

      I actually read yesterday that a considerable number of Texans favor secession. I guess that would be a Texit? However, the Gov denies it will happen. And speaking of history-making events, I note the sentiments of Elie Wiesel, who before his passing said that the world has not fundamentally changed since the haulocaust – the potential for evil remains about the same. I agree. Trump’s advocacy for torture as policy would be a prime example.


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