California will not Secede from the United States of America

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California will not Secede from the United States of America





California will not secede because the United States Congress will not approve.  Most literature that recognizes secession, for any state or region within a country, often result in unfortunate implications.  This paper acknowledges that California, as a state in the US, is extensively considered owing to its quest to become autonomous and sovereign.  California has previously made several attempts to secede but has since failed.  In most cases, the growing displeasure with the federal policies has been the motivation behind the demand for secession.  After Donald Trump’s election in 2016, Democrats in California began to collect signatures for a Calexit referendum.  Though the collection of signatures is ongoing, California secession move remains mostly doubtful.  The state lacks legal rights to separate from the USA.  Moreover, such a move would require a change in the Constitution.  The subsequent research analyzes the reasons why it would be impossible for California to secede from the USA.  The study relies on facts presented in recent articles.  The research proves the impractically of Calexit.  The paper concludes by acknowledging that California will remain in the US for the state is significantly dependent on the country.  The subsequent research findings also form the basis for further studies on secessions.  

Key words: coexist, secede, referendum, federalist, and Constitutional Convention



The urge for autonomy has moved many states in the United States to seek the secession referendum.  In 2012, the Texas requested the Federal Government to approve their will to secede from the United States.   The application efforts failed even after collecting the required 125,000 signatures (Bandler, 2016).  Bandler (2016) acknowledges that in 2016, the disgruntled Democrats from California sought to separate California from the USA.  The failure necessitated the formulation of the California National Party (CNP) and Yes California Movement (Kilgore, 2017). CNP is one of the leading political party in Califonia. 

According to Bandler (2016), the CNP and Yes California Movement collected nearly 600,000 signatures within 180 days.  Kilgore (2017) notes that the two parties have intentions of calling for a referendum in 2018.  As in the case of Texas, Calexit remains doubtful. Kilgore (2017) mainly argues that the mission is largely impractical because California has no constitutional right to separate from the USA.   Similarly, the secession would require a change in the constitution which is impossible.  Besides, Bandler (2016) raises the fact that there is a possibility of rendering California a failed state.  In this essay, we analyze why California secession from the USA is impossible.

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Why California will Stay in the US

California has no legal right to separate from the United States (Neumann et al. 2017).  Although many Democrats in California believe that the Constitution permits California to secede from the US, Neumann et al. (2017) argue that the process is complicated.  Neumann et al. (2017) further recognize that the law does not directly stop a state from separation. However, the founding fathers of USA rendered such move hostile to the Constitution. James Madison, the founding father of the US and the fourth the president, argues that a state has no moral authority to separate from the United States.

According to Madison, individuals have no right to withdraw from a state because of their discontent with a particular law (Stepman, 2012).  In concurrence, the first President of the US. George Washington opposed the notion of autonomy of states.  In his letter to the Congress, Washington indicated that it was impractical for the federal government to allow each state to be independent and support them.  Stepman, (2012) acknowledges that these sentiments meant that any state that would intentionally make a s secession decision would incapacitate the US government.

Furthermore, California seceding would require a constitutional amendment. According to Bandler (2016), the change in the Constitution would require the approval of the two-thirds of the Congress.  However, getting the approval of the Congress dominated by the Republicans would be demanding.  Democrats who are displeased by the Trump regime mostly support California secession (Robinson, 2016).  Therefore, convincing the Republicans that secession is a right move would be impossible.

Similarly, the Republicans have more members in the Congress, with this limiting the chances for approval. Such an event would also need that majority of the US population to approve California succession.  Therefore, it seems unlikely that the secession sought by California would overcome such barriers.

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The idea of California seceding also seems unlikely because many attempts to do so have failed.  In 1861, the eleven states wished to separate from the USA and form the Confederate States of America.  Nonetheless, Robinson (2016) highlight that their efforts failed, and in 1870, all 11 states rejoined the Union.  In 2012, after the reelection of Obama, dissatisfied Texas collected nearly 125,000 signatures needed for a referendum.  Bandler (2016) asserts that the groups were championing secession in Texas then filed a petition to the White House seeking the administration approval.

However, White House Director of Public Engagement, Jon Carson, undermined their efforts by stating that the founding fathers have provided no secession rights (Ball, 2016). Ball (2016) provides that when a state accepted the Constitution, they released the right to secede. Califonia does face the same fate because they accepted the US Constitution, a position that resulted in the liberation of the right to secede. 

Also, California risks becoming a failed states should it secede. Bandler (2016) insists that the State is currently up to the eye in debt and faces difficulties with providing support for its population.  According to Robinson (2016), Califonia, like Texas and San Fransisco states, relies on the federal government to fund its Medicare, social security and workers’ pensions.  Therefore, seceding would make it incapable to offer these services to its citizens. In case the secession attempt succeeds, California would not be able to request further funds from the government to support its expenditures (Fund, 2017). Fund (2017) admits that lack of federal financial assistance would cripple major state owned parastatals.

Moreover, Fund (2017) reasons that if California decides to secede, it would have to manage natural disasters itself. Given its limited budget, the state would not mitigate the effects of the tsunami and massive earthquakes.  Bandler (2016) affirms that failure in the various mitigation support would lead to the destruction of nuclear plants in the Avila San Onofre and the Beach.   

If secession is to be successful, California would no longer receive any federal assistance in the event of natural disasters. With no Federal Government support, the State would face the destruction of properties and casualties. In general, secession would have significant adverse effects for California.


Clearly, California would not secede from the United States because of various reasons.  First,  it is evident that California would hardly separate from the rest of USA because of the legal constraints that characterize the process including congress approval and the ammendment of the US consitution.  Neumann et al. (2017)clealrly stipulate that there is no constitutional right secede because of the founding fathers, including Macron, had no intention of accommodating such a move.

Moreover, the secession procedure would require a constitutional amendment supported by two third of congress and 38 states.  Such move is largely unlikely with Republican dominated Congress.  Furthermore, several attempts by other states such as Texas to secede such as in1861 and 2012 failed.  Previous attempts have provided sufficient evidence that justifies the complexity of the process.  Califonia is not any different from Texas.  

Lastly, California would most likely fail to exist if it separates from the U.S. According to Fund (2017), the state would fail to raise enough funds to needed to support it 40 million people.  Califonia would also be vulnerable to natural disasters that it will not handle without the intervention from the Federal Government.  From the discussions, it is clear that secession, not an easy process but even if the process becomes successful, Califonia will encounter significant difficulties that may limit the privileges currently enjoyed by its constituents.

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Ball, J. (2016). #Calexit: Is it possible for California to secede from U.S. Retrieved on August 31, 2017 from

Bandler, A. (2016). 5 Reasons California Won't Be Seceding Anytime Soon. Retrieved on August 31, 2017 from

Fund, J. (2017). California shouldn’t secede from the U.S. Retrieved on August 31, 2017 from

Kilgore, E. (2017). Is California Going to Secede? Retrieved on August 31, 2017

Neumann Jr, R. K., Margolis, E., & Stanchi, K. M. (2017). Legal reasoning and legal writing. New York: Wolters Kluwer Law & Business.

Robinson, M. (2016). It would be incredibly difficult for California to pull off a 'Calexit' and secede from the US. Retrieved on August 31, 2017 from

Stepman, J. (2012). Secessionists and won't succeed. Retrieved on August 31, 2017 from



County outline map that represents 13 counties that are proposed for secession in Califonia.  The state has always been a subject with over 220proposals to divide the state into various districts, and recently, over two third of the Californian population agreed to the proposition to have Califonia break off from the larger United states.


Figure 1 Jef Stone’s Proposal that aims at creating a new state in South Califonia highlighted in red (Bandler, A. (2016))


Figure 2 represents government response to demands self-governance.  In the two top panels of figure 2, it is clear that variables denote significant effect on governments decision on autonomy, but payoffs do.  The 95% confidence levels analysis represents an accurate representation of reluctance by the government to offer successful secession.      


Figure 2 Average difference in the probability in approving or denying Califonia secession proposition (Neumann et al. 2017)

December 17, 2018



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