Secession and Federalism in the United States: Tools for Managing Regional Conflict in a Pluralist Society
This Article explores the use of federalism and secession as tools for managing regional conflict within pluralist governance, drawing on underappreciated features of the American experience. Epic struggles to balance autonomy with interdependence have taken on new urgency as dissatisfaction with globalization inspires political cataclysms unimaginable just a few years ago—including ‘Brexit’ from the European Union and American threats to leave NATO. The same impetus toward devolution also surfaces in heated intranational conflicts. Recent calls for secession in Catalonia, Iraqi Kurdistan, Scotland, Québec, South Sudan, and even from within the United States reveal multiple political contexts in which questions have been raised about how best to balance competing claims for autonomy, interdependence, political voice, and exit.