Document Type

Book Chapter

Journal Title

Pluralism and Law



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This paper will consider the right to secede, by which I mean the right of a group of the citizens or subjects of an existing state to remove themselves from its political jurisdiction, taking with them some portion of their former state's territory, to form a new political entity. Secession diminishes existing states by narrowing their territorial jurisdiction. The right to secede assumes the previous existence of states and depends for its own justification on the antecedent justifications for statehood. When the reasons for secession outweigh the reasons that justify statehood, or serve those ends better than would the continued existence of states within their historical boundaries, then secession will be justified, and citizens will have the right to secede.

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