Rethinking the American Union for the Twenty-first Century edited by Donald Livingston (Pelican Publishing Company, 2012).
This collection of essays is all about what some might consider an unthinkable topic: the secession of states from the union as an option for the 21st century. The first few essays are written by conservative Southern lawyers and historians but there are also several contributions from progressive thinkers about secession movements in Vermont and California. There have actually been three national conventions on the topic of secession in the past ten years. Apparently (according to several of the authors) secession is one of the few ideas that brings people on opposite ends of the political spectrum together. A related idea discussed by several authors is that the United States is too large to be a democratically governed republic, and division into smaller entities is the only solution. Although their writing was repetitive and filled with unexplained legalese, I learned a lot from the right-wing writers about the history of the Constitution and how the South viewed the Civil War. I’ve never heard anyone say anything bad about President Lincoln, let alone the Supreme Court, but these author were not afraid to do so. I still don’t understand why he didn’t just let the Southern states go, but Lincoln was the President who made us “one nation indivisible’ and not just a union of sovereign states. We’ve been brought up to think this is a good thing, but the essay writers in this collection make a pretty convincing case that we’d be better off seceding.