In a recent article, radio talk-show host, columnist for the Washington Times and president of the Edmund Burke Institute, Jeffrey Kuhner, asks the question, “Will America break up?”[1] Kuhner is not the only intelligent and reasonable person asking this question and predicting its reality. Igor Panarin, a professor at the Diplomatic Academy of the Russian foreign affairs ministry, predicts that given the way the federal government handles its finances and given the unrecoverable deficit of the U.S., the U.S. is undoubtedly bound for “extinction in its present form,”[2] not even mentioning the political, cultural, religious, moral and foreign-entanglement turmoil of the U.S.

The question is rightfully being asked more, and as such, the question should be defined and understood more precisely and constructively so that people are aware of what “breakup of America” really means.

First, by “America,” we mean the United States of America comprised of fifty states under the political association of the U.S. Constitution.

Second, by “breakup,” we must determine if this is meant to be a negative or positive action. “Breakup” could mean collapse, destroyed, annihilated, etc., all of which would be construed negatively and thus rejected in theory by the readers. However, “breakup” could also mean independent, separate, sovereign etc., all of which could be construed in a positive fashion and thus accepted in theory by the readers. Perspective is determinative here.

Third, we must determine if the question refers to the people of the states in their individual capacities as bodies-politic; the state governments as agents of the people under their state constitutions; and/or the federal government as created by the states under the U.S. Constitution.

When one analyzes the foundations of society and government in the United States, the conclusion that the U.S. will “breakup” should not be surprising, considering the cycles of human history and experience, not to mention the study of political science. Thus, the question should be raised, “should the states breakup/secede/separate from the federal government as formed under the U.S. Constitution, and if so, in what manner?”

For better or worse, many in the United States have literally idolized the union of the United States, as formed under the U.S. Constitution from 1787 to 1791, during which time thirteen states ratified the constitution separately and independently of each other. Suggesting that the United States “breakup” leaves a sense of shock in their minds and hearts, for they cannot imagine a life without a union of fifty states under the power and control of the federal government. (The reasons for this are not subject to this discussion.)

That the United States procured its sovereign and independent political and societal existence through secession from Great Britain–a breakup of its own–does not seem to enter into their minds concerning a “breakup” of the United States in its current form. Some seem to think that if the union “as is” goes, so goes freedom, although history has proven otherwise. People with this mindset automatically conclude that “breakup” will be perpetually and everlastingly detrimental to freedom and that union as is must be preserved at all costs.

“Is it because you do not believe that an American can be a tyrant? If this be the case you rest on a weak basis; Americans are like other men in similar situations…[and] your posterity will find that great power connected with ambition, luxury, and flattery, will as readily produce a Caesar, Caligula, Nero, and Domitian in America, as the same causes did in the Roman empire.”[3]

However, many in America adamantly believe that the freedom and ideals fought for in 1776 have been all but completely attacked and killed under oppressive control of the federal government and the demoralization of society throughout the states over the past many generations–all the constitutions in America notwithstanding. They cannot reasonably foresee a restoration of freedom in their state through the political process in Washington D.C. under the current union, regardless of which political party controls the federal government.

Others are caught between two worlds that they either do not want or do not understand.

So, can the states in America be more proactive in their planning to restore freedom? Or should they wear their Kevlar helmets just waiting for the inevitable collapse and then attempt to “rise from the ashes” during the chaos and God knows what else?

America’s founding generation believed that a proactive approach to an obviously tyrannous government (despite the existence of the greatest and freest constitution in the world at that time) was necessary to preserve their freedom. They did not wait for the ashes and ruins to fall upon them through the natural consequences of ill-administered government. Instead, they used the tools of hindsight, insight and foresight to calculate the measure of their survival and freedom. In that case, independence was necessary.

A body of people gathered together to govern themselves (i.e. a body-politic/state) have a natural right to preserve, protect, perpetuate and perfect their existence. They are not morally, constitutionally or ethically obligated to severely suffer more than if they had not entered into that particular society or that government in the first place. They have the power to govern themselves according to the principles derived from the very purpose of society and government.

The states are not obligated to wait until the hammer falls upon them, their families, communities, businesses and property before they have a right to act accordingly, just as a husband does not have to wait for another man to actually rape his wife before he terminates the would-be rapist when the threat is apparent to the husband and wife.

In fact, societies that wait too late rarely have the opportunity to restore freedom without immense pain and suffering: they are mostly oppressed to the point of voluntary submission to slavery. John Locke observes as well that self-government must happen sooner, rather than later: a preventative measure, not a reactionary measure:

“This is in effect no more than to bid them first be slaves, and then to take care of their liberty; and when their chains are on, tell them, they may act like freemen. This, if barely so, is rather mockery than relief; and men can never be secure from tyranny, if there be no means to escape it till they are perfectly under it: and therefore it is, that they have not only a right to get out of it, but to prevent it.”[4]

Therefore, when that State sees the danger approaching or it recognizes its own enslaving conditions, it has every right to judge the situation as it discerns and to act accordingly. These are the principles expounded by our founders in the Declaration of Independence, and these are the ideas expressed by western-world jurists before 1776, which equipped our founders for the penning and signing of the Declaration of Independence. In essence, the thirteen colonies prevented the inevitable collapse of freedom, security and happiness by preemptively eliminating the source of their demise: their “central government” in Great Britain. Reconciliation would have been nice, perhaps; but freedom was nicer.

Ultimately, where there are two competing fundamental notions of governance, one must prevail and the other must fail. In a country as large and vast as the United States has become, this is very problematic when considering the fundamental maxims of freedom expressed in the Declaration of Independence: the larger the territory and number of people, the less likely a republic will remain free. This was recognized by jurists and philosophers for hundreds of years before 1776: “It is natural to a republic to have only a small territory, otherwise it cannot long subsist.”[5]

Kuhner expresses the conflict this way: “We are no longer one nation or one people. Rather, there are now two Americas: one conservative, the other liberal. Increasingly, we no longer just disagree but we despise each other.”[6] In such an environment, freedom within a large union never remains. The consent of the governed becomes oppressed by those who do not share their values, beliefs and morals. The union is held together not from the voluntary bonds of likeness, similarity, loyalty and friendship, but from brute force.

Human nature and experience prove that as a body of people or states regard their God-given freedom and rights as stolen or trampled and as “peaceful” political process effects no restoration of those freedoms and rights for generations, “breakup” is not only inevitable, it is necessary. America’s founders believed the same: “[I]n the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands.”[7]

Do not be deceived into thinking that this necessity will not occur, is impractical or is foolish. The course of events in the United States has proven one thing: the federal government is out of control and has been for generations. Freedom is always a worthy goal, even when the chances do not humanly appear favorable. There were many throughout the colonies in 1776 that saw no hope in the breakup from Great Britain; but to their surprise, the breakup was successful.

Moreover, despite that the colonies appeared to be wholly inadequate to backup their breakup from Great Britain, their secession produced the freest and most successful country the world had ever known. Those who advocated for reconciliation with Great Britain were terribly wrong and would have only perpetuated what was destroying the security, happiness and freedom of the colonies.

We the People of the States should not simple-mindedly and passively wait for a “collapse” of the U.S., as if our existence consists of nothing more than being cattle, wondering if we are going to the slaughter today or tomorrow. Instead, the States should proactively plan, engage and prepare in the political understanding, knowledge and truth that make people free, just as America’s forefathers did. In the end, free people are only those who plan for freedom.

© 2010 Timothy N. Baldwin, JD – All Rights Reserved

[1] Jeffrey Kuhner, “Will America Break Up?”, Right Bias, (March 25, 2010), found at

[2] Tom Leonard, US will collapse and break up, Russian analyst predicts,, (November 25, 2008), found at

[3] Brutus and Ralph Ketcham, ed., The Anti-Federalist Papers and the Constitutional Convention Debates, (New York: Signet Classic, 2003), 319.

[4] John Locke and C. B. Macpherson, ed., Second Treatise of Government, (Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing Company, Inc., 1980), 110–111, (emphasis added).

[5] Charles de Baron Montesquieu and Julian Hawthorne, ed., The Spirit of Laws: The World’s Great Classics, vol. 1 (London: The London Press), 120.

[6] Jeffrey Kuhner, “Will America Break Up?”, Right Bias, (March 25, 2010), found at

[7] Declaration of Independence (emphasis added).

Timothy Baldwin
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