The Balkanization of America


I've been half-joking about New Hampshire or New England seceding from the union for some time and recently stumbled onto the websites of two secessionist groups, the Second Vermont Republic and the Republic of New Hampshire, and I've been reading Juan Enriquez's book, The Untied States of America.

I love the idea and cultural heritage of America, but I'm increasingly frustrated with the systemic problems in the massive federal government, which I think are inherent in a political entity as large as ours, and I've begun to seriously wonder if we wouldn't be better off with several smaller, independent republics with something more like the EU... something more like how we operated under the Articles of Confederation, back when all thirteen colonies and Vermont were considered to be thirteen independent republics and each had its own president, currency and so on.

Just wondering if other folks have ever thought of this or any thoughts folks might have.... on an architectural note, it might be a good opportunity to design a bunch of new of new parliament houses. haha.

Jul 21, 06 12:01 pm

that would weaken our resolve on iraq and hamper our efforts to spread democracy on earth.
don't thread on us...

Jul 21, 06 12:36 pm
brian buchalski

i'm with you FLM. i lived in new england for several years and think it'd make a great place on its own without the feds. i would also like to see michigan (where i now live) secede or possibly form its own country with some of the other great lake states & provinces. the rest of america could arrrange itself however it sees fit.

i'm probably the only person to admit this...but i've always felt that abraham lincoln made a mistake in fighting to retain the south, hence bolstering the federal authority that we use as a crutch today.

Jul 21, 06 1:39 pm

i'd be happy, the midwest wouldn't have to put up with the south or northeast.
lets do it

Jul 21, 06 2:34 pm
Smokety Mc Smoke Smoke

Just move to Texas .... no state income tax!!!!

Jul 21, 06 2:58 pm
le bossman

michigan is pretty much already its own empire stretches from toledo aaallll the way isle royale, on the other side of lake superior. its actually an enormous state if you think about the time it takes to circumvent it by land; i've always thought that the peninsula that sticks out of ontario should belong to michigan, so then we'd own all the peninsulas. and then we could rename the state Peninsulario, or the Peninsulario Empire or something like that. anyway, just an idea...

Jul 21, 06 3:04 pm

The only thing holding back Michigan is the adjacency to Ohio.

Jul 21, 06 3:10 pm
Smokety Mc Smoke Smoke
I am Governor Jerry Brown ......

I used to LOVE that song when I was a kid. Jello Biafra cracks me up.

Jul 21, 06 3:21 pm
brian buchalski

yeah, securing the southern border is clearly are most pressing national concern. maybe we should build a moat...or maybe we give a strip of land stretching from lakes erie-to-michigan to ted nugent to serve as a buffer zone.

Jul 21, 06 3:40 pm

Well we also have the Michigan Militia to deal with; the south border protection plan will give them somthing to do.
As long as they are occupied we are ok.
We also need to change the name of Climax, Michigan.
I'm so tired of seeing people at the side of the road taking pictures of the signs.
And change exit 69 Big Beaver Road.
It was funny when i was 12 but it got old.

Jul 21, 06 3:48 pm

haha. in 1980, me and my friend pretty much talked dk to play in sci arc but majority yuppie wanna be students shut us down in favor of some malibu reggae band who played for them trustafarians.

Jul 21, 06 3:48 pm

Los Angeles can be it's own city state- and still be the 18th biggest economy in the world!

We don't need no treehugging berkeley or san fran hippees to rule the world!!!!!!

Jul 21, 06 3:54 pm

No one would miss Los Angeles

Jul 21, 06 3:56 pm

the hippies disappeared in '67

Jul 21, 06 3:59 pm

no income or sales tax in new hampshire... though (and shh about this), i favor a repeal of the state property tax in favor of a progressive income tax.

i never really understood why texas gets so much credit for once being a sovereign state... as i said, so were all thirteen original colonies in essence, vermont, hawaii... any others? people seem to forget, i feel, that it was not always considered impossible or unpatriotic to promote secession... part of new hampshire was an independent nation, the indian stream republic, in the nineteenth century, and new england considered secession at the hartford convention in 1814. and after all, thomas jefferson not only said that periodic revolution was good and necessary, but also that the ability of any state wishing to do so to leave the union made the union stronger.

plus New Hampshire is the only place in the world that guarantees its citizens the right to revolution, so it's just the place for the revolution to begin!

Then we'll have to use gorilla (yes, gorilla not guerilla) warfare to stave off an invasion by Massachusetts to bring us back into the Union. Vermont leader, Patrick Leahy, will inevitably make a secret deal with the Democratic Republic of New Hampshire giving us bases and access to Vermon'ts inland ports. Three years later, Dean's neutrality will rewarded by the outbreak of an uprising by democratic socialist Vermont Rouge guerillas who will take shelter in the areas of Vermont controlled by New Hampshire. Then Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney will order a military incursion into Vermont in order to destroy New Hampshire sanctuaries bordering on Vermont and take some pressure off the fragile Vernibt government. The Vermont Incursion will then prompt even more protests on U.S. college campuses. The effect of the Vermont Incursion will be to push New Hampshire forces deeper into Vermont, which will destabilize the country and resulted in the rise of the Vermont Rouge.

Jul 21, 06 4:00 pm

no state income tax in washington state too.

Jul 21, 06 4:03 pm

oh yeah- I'm leaving LA....

Michigan Rules!!! (as long as Minneapolis can be the capital)

Jul 21, 06 4:03 pm
treehugging berkeley

maybe not Berkeley, but not quite 'safe for work'
Jul 21, 06 4:05 pm
vado retro
Hail Nugentonia
Jul 21, 06 4:06 pm

that's tree luvin'
not hugging!

Jul 21, 06 4:07 pm
real tree hugging- also not 'safe'

if it's this much fun, how can it be so bad?????

Jul 21, 06 4:15 pm

am i a treehugeriller?

Jul 21, 06 4:35 pm

Hey VT was the 14th state and not part of the original 13. Vermont refused to join the union until the bill of rights had been ratified.

And we would kick NHs butt. Besides, NH is probably very pleased with the Republicanisation of America, maybe except for hanover.

No I think we would be better off joining up with Quebec (they've been trying to seceed from Canada since the beginning) and starting our own country "Verbec". We'd have a corner on the lucrative maple syrup market which we could use as economic leverage to bring the US to it's knees. Tourism would triple as all of the social "elite" from Mass and NJ would flock as they would be able to brag to their friends that they travelled "inernationally" over the weekend. The merger with Quebec would bring an influx of attractive french speaking women, badly needed in Vermont. The government would consist of a true democracy instead of a republic and our new language of "verbecian" would be far superior to either english or french.

There's already been a tremendous amount of thought and effort put into this project so if you don't mind lets keep it a secret for now, just between us...

Maine can come too...

Jul 21, 06 4:38 pm
brian buchalski

let's call it michiganistan!

Jul 21, 06 4:59 pm

We would not miss Vermont either.
my god no one knows it is even there.

Jul 21, 06 4:59 pm

hey vermonster, i know vt was not in the original 13, that's what i was saying. you guys also saved us from three years of bad luck. thanks for that. still, you'd be wise to heed the words of robert frost before gloating in typical perceived vermont self-righteousness attacking new hampshire though...

(she being nh):

She's one of the two best states in the Union.
Vermont's the other. And the two have been
Yokefellows in the sap yoke from of old
In many Marches. And they lie like wedges,
Thick end to thin end and thin end to thick end,
And are a figure of the way the strong
Of mind and strong of arm should fit together,
One thick where one is thin and vice versa.

that's why new hampshire (which had the first modern constitution complete with 41 rights in the world) and vermont would be great together... vershire. both are two of the most progressive states in the union, though vermont gets more attention even though nh's legislature is historically more progressive in my view... nh is not happy with the "republicanization of america," by the way as the legislature is usually controlled by a coalition government of leftist democrats and moderate and liberal republics. republicans in nh tend to still be social liberals, so don't get too uppitty west of the connecticut with your repub governor and legislature. still vermont liberals would really help sway things in the right direction in new hampshire. we'd just face a big immigration problem along our southern border with massachusetts people and their sprawl.

i always assumed maine would come along... vershiraine! freedom & unity or die.... dirigo.

Jul 21, 06 5:00 pm

shit, didn't mean to sound aggressive there, vermonster. i love vt, too, and really do think nh and vt are the two best states in the union. just trying to say that we're better when we work together... to borrow new hampshire's first state motto: Vis Unita Fortior, United strength is stronger.

Jul 21, 06 5:05 pm

Next order of buisness in Michiganistan,
get rid of the UAW, make me the GM of the Lions (Millian is an ass clown)

Jul 21, 06 5:09 pm
i'm probably the only person to admit this...but i've always felt that abraham lincoln made a mistake in fighting to retain the south, hence bolstering the federal authority that we use as a crutch today.

puddles, the ultra-liberal New Hampshire Gazette ran an article about this a few months ago, arguing that allowing states to secede would mean New Hampshire wouldn't have to deal with the Religious Right, would allow industrial hemp agriculture, a lowered drinking age, greater civil liberties and gay marriage (which has 55% popular support here, which even vt and mass can't claim).......

ok. enough from me for now

Jul 21, 06 5:18 pm

Yeah, this is getting better and better,
Michiganistan is gonna declare war on Verbecian. NH will naturally join in. It will take all of five hours for us to invade and take control. Why you as? cause we can. seems like a good enough reason these days.

Jul 21, 06 5:28 pm

yeah, it's kind of too bad LA didn't split from the rest of California over 10 years ago ... the place would have smothered itself by now.

Jul 21, 06 5:45 pm

Jeez I thought you were from Boston... NH's fine. I was only joking. My grandparents live there. I doubt there are any other states in the union that have closer ties except maybe NY and NJ... but who wants to live there?

A tri-state secession has real potential. Although I'd still want to invite Quebec. You're right about the immigration, though. We'd have to build a wall along the southern border Tancredo style. Or, in lieu of that, maybe we could have a "guest worker" program. I suppose if Quebec came, then we'd have to ask New Brunswick and Nova Scotia to join... Then we'd be surrounded on three sides by water and just have the Mass border to deal with. We'd rule the North Atlantic controlling the rich fishing grounds off the grand bank and the valuable shipping routes between the US and the Old World. Yarrr. And we could outlaw leafpeeping.

Seriously though, there is a town next to mine named "vershire". What part of NH you from FLM?

Jul 21, 06 5:51 pm

Verbecshiraine would have just as many guns as Michiganistan... Besides even if you did succeed in occupying us your resources would be over-extended. Your delicate fledgling government would crumble due to faction and political infighting. Warlords from Detroit and militias from the rural regions would gain power and keep the country in a perpetual state of discord. Those who made up the occupying force would either assimilate or fall to the Verbecshiraine Rouge gorilla fighting force.

Vis Unita Fortior!

Jul 21, 06 6:17 pm

haha. I know, my friend from Vermont found out about Vershire and we decided it should become the a new federal city and capital, Vershire City, Vershire. I say we just line the Mass border with a stream of maple syrup too thick to pass through. problem solved. and if all the windfarms being proposed around here go through, maybe we can somehow blow all the air pollution from michiganistan (hell of a name, by the way) back west. since vermont, new hampshire and maine all have insanely high gun ownership rates, i think we'd handle ourselves just fine. besides, we've got gorillas. still, i think once we blow all their pollution back at them, we'll have a pretty strong bargaining chip and will be able to avoid military conflict.

i'm from bedford, which is right outside manchester and far too close to the border, if you ask me. my mother lived in manchester until.. well i guess, the house closed today so today, but just moved to eliot, maine right outside portsmouth, which is one of my favorite towns. where in vermont are you? again, sorry about seeming mad before. i guess i'm a hotblooded statriot.

Jul 21, 06 6:42 pm
le bossman

puddles, what's wrong with the Peninsulario Empire?

oh yeah, there was the michigan-ohio war a long time ago...

Jul 21, 06 7:20 pm
le bossman

it has been argued that this began the University of Michigan-Ohio State rivalry

Jul 21, 06 7:22 pm

No worries. I'm from Strafford, VT. Used to get southerners who would cruise around at 2mph, role down the window and ask where the "Newheart" house was. We're just NW of White River Junction. Driven through Bedford but that's about it. I know what you mean about being too far south. We're spared some of that being more west. I'm sure your mom will love ME. Who doesn't, really?

Actually, I just moved to Texas this week (Austin) to go to UT for MARCH so I'm allready a traitor to verbecshiraine. It's hot. And flat. And overpriced. I walked into a gas station last night to buy a phone card and the guy next to me talked just like the guy from "king of the hill" who is basically unintelligible. Crazy... Never in a million years thought I'd end up here... yet here I am...

Jul 21, 06 7:23 pm

Whoa- I meant ME as in the state abbrev. for Maine! Not me me.

Jul 21, 06 7:25 pm

If you think Austin is overpriced then you really should never leave Vermont. Ever. Austin is cheap.

I could never live in Vermont. At least Texas has minorities and *some* diversity.

Jul 21, 06 7:32 pm

I can't believe Michigan ever waged war for Toledo. Ick. Next time we take Sarnia and Windsor. Imagine a bunch of Michiganders dressed in identical brown Carhartt duck fighting under a banner that says: "Si Quaeris Peninsulam Amoenam, Circumspice!"

Jul 21, 06 8:35 pm
Dapper Napper

Thank you oldirty.

Vermonster, you've clearly never been out of your beloved Vermont. That's one of the positives of suffering with the heat in Texas, one can live quite comfortably on way less than other major regions of the country.

And all you Michiganistons, and Vermonshire dwellers, would get waxed by Texas.

Jul 21, 06 8:53 pm

Been all over. Europe, Asia, every state in the Union. Lived in VT, MA, MN, CO, WA. Seoul for 6 months. Now TX. Hey I've only been here for 2 days so I'm just giving my first impressions. I'm sure I'll learn to love it. I guess when I said overpriced I was referring to the apartment I just signed for... they say the markets hot right now. Guess I shouldn't have waited until now to find it. Actually, I'm not sure why I'm defending myself. Seems like people are a bit touchy about their states. Lighten up. I really don't give a rats a$$...

I'm more interested in the three way knock down, drag out fight between Michiganistan, Verbecshiraine and Texas... In a steel cage.

Any other takers?

Jul 21, 06 9:18 pm
brian buchalski

here's a minor fact that i recently learned from jack lessenberry of the metrotimes, namely that michigan never wanted to be part of the usa to begin with. he writes:

"Last week I talked to David Armour, a historian who is perhaps the world expert on Michigan during the American Revolution. When it was learned in 1783 that the United States had won and that Michigan was part of the new country, there was virtually no dissent. Everyone absolutely hated the idea.

“They were appalled,” Armour told me. “There was virtually no one who had any interest in being part of the new country.” Michigan was home then to about 10,000 Native Americans, who were staunchly pro-British, to the extent they were on any side at all.

The few thousand Europeans were mainly French — Michigan had been part of Quebec till 1763 — and probably wished they were back under King Louie. The rest were British settlers who couldn’t believe the diplomats at the Treaty of Paris had sold them out. They had no problems with King George, possibly because while some people thought he was mad, nobody thought he was a W."

michiganistan, of course, is similar to vermont in that it is one of the few places in the usa to have had a noticeably french influence. hence many of the names of our oldest towns are french in origin, i.e., marquette, detroit, st. ignace. sault sainte marie, founded in 1668, is michigan's first permanent settlement and actually one of the oldest cities in america.

at any rate, i don't think we'd have any animosity towards our friends over in the new england/quebec region. besides, this isn't about invasions & empire building anyhow...i think that's what most of us would like to get away from.

would the feds in washington, dc send in troops if either michigan or new england tried to secede? that's an interesting question. i'd rather avoid a bloody squabble, thus the use of the name michiganistan. my suspicion is that by simply adding the -istan to our name, we would be ignored by 9 out of 10 americans as readily as they already ignore central asia.

ok, i'm having too much fun with this...back to baseball (if only the tigers were playing the red sox tonight!)

Jul 21, 06 9:21 pm
brian buchalski


ah, yes...the good old toledo war! nice link. personally i'm happier with the upper peninsula, very nice consolation prize so to speak.

maybe Peninsulario Empire or one of its derivatives could be our official name and we could continure to use michiganistan colloquially.

bit of a tangent here, but does anybody remember that old red dawn movie? the character who called himself "wolverine" could easily be the mythical patron hero for the new michiganistan!

Jul 21, 06 9:32 pm

No animosity here either. just a joke. actually it seems pretty clear from this post that one of the biggest problems would be strife between states.

That's a good question about whether the US govmnt woud step in. Hey FLM, does the "right to revolution" in your states constitution get you off the hook with uncle sam?

It seems like one of the results of splitting into a series of smaller nations might be that people would be less likely to stay in one state for a long period of time...

I didn't know that about the French influence in Michigan. Obviously Vermont (Green Mountains in French) has that quality. A good portion of the people in the northern half of the state are or are descended from the Quebecois.

I recently found out that the word "Cajun" is actually an evolved form of the word Acadian. The Acadians were the French who settled parts of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and PEI. They were kicked out by the British in 1755 and resettled in Louisianna.

Jul 21, 06 9:47 pm

I meant to say "more" likely to stay in one state...

Also I think what FLM implied would be true that capital cities would grow in size and that states would "centralize" a bit populationwise.

Jul 21, 06 10:11 pm
brian buchalski

the french influence in michigan is somewhat vestigial these days, a part of our early history but seemingly forgotten by most people now. it certainly doesn't carry the tradition & flavor of the influence in louisiana or probably even vermont for that matter.

Jul 22, 06 1:07 am

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