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Philosophy on Secession and Civil War


Secession in the United States comprised several events’ series that started in the year 1860 and continued up to the month of June the following year when several states both in the Upper and Lower South severed ties with the union. Seven of the states based on the Lower South involving Montgomery began seceding and introduced a provisional government. Montgomery was located in Alabama, and in the eruption of hostilities, several states that bordered Arkansas, as well as Virginia, got united with the new government. The hostilities started in the Charleston Harbor at Fort Sumter in 1986, the month of April. The new government shifted its capital to Virginia in a town referred to as Richmond (McClintock, 2008).

Geographic boundaries divided this union: the twenty-one states on the north preserved the style and associated themselves with the US while the states in the south, most of which were slave states, assumed Confederate States of America (CSA), which was their nomenclature. States such as Kentucky and Maryland as well as Missouri were also habitats for the slaves stuck with the Union though they assisted the Confederacy with some volunteers. A total of fifty counties located in western Virginia backed the Union government and were loyal to it. In the year 1863, the region was constituted as a separate West Virginia state. Practically, secession meant that approximately a third of the people living in that area who had significant material resources withdrew from the existing national and formed another government (McClintock, 2008).

The word secession was being used even in 1776 when South Carolina threatened to separate from the government. They had planned to so implement this because the Continental Congress had introduced an idea of taxing colonies according to the population density of an area, and this included the slaves. In this instance, as well as during the entire period of antebellum, the term meant minority assertion of interests against the hostility of the majority. Some Constitutional Convention members met in Philadelphia in the year 1787 to discuss the matter that has been a concern for them (McClintock, 2008). This essay discusses the secession and the Civil War in the United States and its implications as well as whether any community in any part of the world may find it necessary to secede in case it does not enjoy the benefits of its resources. The essay also describes the Humanitarian Intervention, its implications, how the global society views it and whether it is useful. It also touches on Guerrilla warfare and its significance and discusses whether the combatants should be allowed to wear uniforms. Finally, the essay defines terrorism, whether torture should be employed while curbing terrorists and the critique related to all these techniques.


Any community can involve in secession from a political union if the group feels inferior and the interests of the group are not met. Arguably, all people would favor secession similar to the Americans who presented the Declaration of the Independence when they separated from England forwarding the main causes that justified this parting. There are several states on the south of the country that provided explanations as to why they wanted to break ties with the United States. For example, South Carolina claimed that there were frequent violations of the American Constitution mainly from the side of the Federal Government. To justify this, the state withdrew from the Federal Union. It did so to exercise rights that were being violated. Having recommenced its position among the states of the nation, this state now has declared its immediate causes, which led to this (McClintock, 2008).

Arguably, this secession would not lead to more economic benefits for a seceding state after separating from the parent state. However, the detached region may feel the impacts of such kind of separation, and most of which would be negative. For example, there is the secession in the United States and the Civil War (McClintock, 2008).

The economic outcomes of the American Civil War were mainly the result of the Northern region controlling the government. There were several debates concerning the tariff. However, the southern states had strong positions in the Senate, and this proved to be a challenge for the Northern states, which pushed to forgo some of its objectives as far as economic policies of the state are concerned. Nevertheless, the Southern states did secede, and legislators from these regions left their seats (McClintock, 2008).

The Northern states ensured victory, and the federal government was under their control. The region also implemented most of the economic policies. To improve their economic position the Southern states had to secede, fight for their rights and push for economic balance. Some legislation proposals were passed during this unrest. These issues were significant for the development of the northern economy. For instance, the Morrill Tariff ensured that the rates increased by 20%. Several transcontinental railroads were financed, and these fell under the Act of Transcontinental Railroad. The Act of Morrill Land Grant, which existed in 1862, enabled several states that stuck with the Union receive thirty thousand acres of land and mechanical as well as agricultural colleges established in those states (McClintock, 2008).

In addition to all these, for the remaining states in the Union, under the National Bank Act, there was a set of some banking regulations that were enacted to improve the banking system. There were provisions made to the states in the Union whereby there were an additional 160 acres of land provided for homesteads, and it was implemented under the Act of Homestead 1862. This allocation was optimized for anyone who had been in that settlement area for more than half a decade and had intentions to become a permanent citizen of the United States (McClintock, 2008).

These changes improved the Northern region, and the Southern states felt that they had been abandoned while the proposals were being enacted. They saw a need to secede so as to fulfill their economic ambitions, and this was inevitable and satisfactory to everyone who lived in the south. However, the war had negative implications, and some of them is the destruction of wealth and loss of property. For instance, in South Carolina, approximately 965 thousand hogs were present before this war. After the war, this population had reduced to 150,000. Currencies, as well as the Confederate bonds, were becoming worthless. This impact deprived the region most of its wealth. Slaves’ emancipation tore down a large part of the capital of the Southern region. This action called for a fresh system of labor (McClintock, 2008).

However, the policies that were set in the Northern region have shaped the current American economy. A group must have a common interest or have a common identity. It does not matter whether it is a religious group, but common interests must unite its members. For instance, the community in the south had the same interests. They had common economic interests as well as political interests that made them secede when the northern states deprived them these benefits. Any group has a right to secede if it perceives that the greater group is treating it as an inferior. The negative part of the secession is indulging in a war that would cause loss of properties and lives. Human rights should be observed in case a group is participating in secession. There should not be any form of war among the different communities; the community feeling inferior should just detach from the union in a peaceful manner and do not cause bodily harm or loss of lives (McClintock, 2008).

Breakup of Yugoslavia

This breakup happened in the early 1990s due to political upheavals as well as conflicts in the region. After the eruption of the crisis of politics among the nations that constituted the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, there was a split of entire Yugoslavia. There were issues that had not been settled down yet, and war among the ethnic groups erupted and affected both Croatia and Bosnia. In the year 1992, Slovenia and Croatia were recognized as independent states internationally. Along with Bosnia, in the same year, they were considered as member states by the United Nations (McClintock, 2008).

This secession is arguably beneficial since Yugoslavia had tended to oppress the constitute states causing an eruption of war (Buckingham, 2011). This secession also saw smaller regions such as Bosnia acquire their identity as independent countries recognized worldwide subsequently joining the United Nations where it would develop economic wise. The international community failed to recognize the remaining states under Yugoslavia.

Basque Secession from Spain

The residents of this region consider themselves to be the representatives of a separate culture and identity as compared to the Spanish one. They argue that their history is totally different from the Spanish one and they have enough industries that can sustain them as an independent state. These residents do not consider themselves as Spanish, and they want a separate recognition. The Basque country is located in central Spain but is subjected to a dissimilar system of taxation (McClintock, 2008).

The Basques argue that through agitation, they can make the Spanish central government accord them further independence or simply allow them to detach. However, extremists are present in the area, for example, groups such as ETA, and they make the whole process complicated by exercising violence. These extremists irritate the Basques while the Basques are not violent and just want to have an independent state that they would consider their own. The resistance by the Spanish government is high since they value the region and want it to remain part of Spain. The industrial wealth of Basques and their rich culture are some of the benefits that Spain would lose if the secession took place. Another factor that makes Spain resist this secession is that if they allow it, other regions would follow the steps, for instance, Catalonia. In their fight to contain this, they declare some of the political parties in Basque religion to be illegal (McClintock, 2008).

These forms of secession are arguably beneficial in case the central government does not deprive the regions in the question of some of the benefits and avoids war as a means of pushing secession. Secession can be considered as successful if it is implemented without violations of human rights. On the other hand, it should not be encouraged since if a region wants to secede, then any other region may follow suit, and this may cause imbalances in the country. This incident was evident when Uzbekistan left USSR; it triggered in the governments of several other states the idea to detach from the union. Georgia and Turkmenistan realized that they could leave the union as others had done, and Russia had no remaining power to compel these states to stick to the Soviet Union (McClintock, 2008).


The parent state may deprive the seceding region of some of the resources claiming that this is done for the betterment of the general economy. The war between regions in a state is called in simple terms Civil War. There is no much difference between the Civil War and war between states, though; there are moral differences between the two (Buckingham, 2011).

(Armed) Humanitarian Intervention

Humanitarian Intervention can be illustrated as follows: one nation is employing military power against a separate one when it is perceived to be interfering with human rights. The term may also mean international sanctions and humanitarian aid. The term also encompasses techniques that do not call for force employment; these techniques may include carrying out an intervention devoid of military force. This method is mostly used to alleviate the extensive human suffering that might be present within the territories of that state. Such kind of military interventions would help lessen cases of mass rape and genocides (McClintock, 2008).

For the military intervention process to be effective, the performers must be given guidelines by the host nation on how to undertake their operations. However, the threat and the force used by the military may instill fear on the victims making it impossible for the operation to be successful. The military may not abstract information about whereabouts of the perpetrators of the mass rape or the genocides (McClintock, 2008). The legal definitions of these approaches may enable the military intervention to conduct its operations in a strategic manner and apprehend those violating these human rights ensuring the safety of the victims, without adding more misery to their lives.

However, there are other forms of humanitarian interventions whereby military interferes with a sovereign state’s internal affair occupying its airspace or even its ground territory, without consent or authorization of that state or even making state involve in any aggression towards a different state. In other instances, this action may be a form of punishment. Arguably, humanitarian intervention should be done according to international laws, that is, a state should not send its troops to another state without the consents or without being authorized by that state. However, if that state is violating human rights and/or not protecting the human rights of its citizens, then the intervention should be done helping the victims who are the citizens of that state not to cause war (McClintock, 2008).

There should be a proper enhancement of the international agreements in regard to humanitarian intervention to avoid any state sending its troops to another nation, without any proper aid. These contrasting ideas have shown why politics, as well as ethics of armed humanitarian intervention, have presented theoretical difficulties as well as controversial practical concerns facing governments. The United States intervened in Afghanistan, but its intervention was arguably not for humanitarian reasons (McClintock, 2008). It led to an overthrow of a repressive as well as a brutal regime with the aim to influence advocacy of humanitarian involvement.

Philosophy of Humanitarian Intervention

There are several past victors in the prevention of atrocities in several states; one of them was John Stuart Mill who claimed that to indulge in a war, which is not defensive but rather aggressive, is a crime. The philosopher compares this to forcing one’s ideas onto another person, whereby the other person is compelled to follow the will of the other instead of doing it willfully (Buckingham, 2011).

However, there are times when a nation should engage in a war. Even if not being attacked or threatened, the country should develop ideas and plans on how to do it and not cause unnecessary harm to innocent civilians. Under these circumstances, the nation intending to attack should follow the international law of war and the rules of morality among nations. For instance, in Algeria where there were British and French armies, the justification of this involvement can be regarded as overt imperialism. With barbarians who lived in Algeria, there were little signs of reciprocity that was worldwide fundamental. These barbarians were apt to gain from intervenes, which were civilized. Mills also claims that the moral laws that exist between a barbarous state and a civilized one are only the international rules concerning morality (Buckingham, 2011).

There are other governments that intervene with the aim of oppressing the smaller state, and Mills argues that these are states that need international help to impose obedience from its inhabitants. In an instance of a civil war where the two parties conflict, he claims that other parties are allowed to demand the conflict to cease. In regard to the liberation war, the philosopher states that when the dispute is between the native rulers, there is no solution for the intervention legitimacy query because intervention in such a condition would not help the common citizens even if successful. The recommended intervention must be aimed at setting people free, but the citizens under this condition may find it difficult to wrest it from the native oppressors (Buckingham, 2011). The liberty that may be bestowed on these people rather than liberty they have fought for themselves may be nothing close to something that would persist for long.

Authorized Interventions

If there are threats to global peace, then the UN Security Council gives the ultimatum or authorizes other interventions to these regions to curb such issues as mass displacements. The council has the mandate to employ force, and this is done in states that several other nations have considered being a region of conflict. However, the invading parties should leave the state intact if peace is restored; they should not replace or overthrow the current government. The government is decided by the people of that nation through such process as referendum and elections. If the state is a sovereign state, the rulers should be allowed to stay in power but only if the ruling is peaceful. Such operations or interventions should be aimed at restoring peace, curbing genocides, among other vices, and if the order is restored, the rest should be left as it was before the intervention (McClintock, 2008).

In contrast, other states may intervene and employ force against a different state, without prior authorization from the organ. This approach may be followed if there are extreme violations of human rights, which need to be addressed with immediate effect. Examples of this include intervention to help the Kurds during the Gulf War in Iraq. Interventions should only be regarded as legitimate if they are authorized by the UN Security Council. Without the authorization, the intervention would be deemed illegitimate, and this would encourage several states to be doing that at will. As a rule, the Council acts very fast when there is a detection of a violation of human rights anywhere in the world (Buckingham, 2011).

All states intending to intervene in a conflict should wait for signal and guidelines on how to conduct an intervention, and this would help since the intervening states would not interfere with other issues apart from the ones they have been mandated to handle. However, in an emergency situation, states may intervene to save lives without prior authorizations from the council (McClintock, 2008).


This form of involvement is considered to be the modern version of western colonialism. In most cases, after the humanitarian intervention, capitalism is imposed in a wrecked community. The approach denies the leadership of the impaired society a right to define the right method of development that would suit its citizens rather than benefiting foreign investors (Buckingham, 2011).

Other powerful countries, such as the United States, are employing this form of intervention pretext to acquire geopolitical objectives. The states also tend to evade the legal prohibitions in the employment of the global force. Mostly, the main goal of such states in conducting humanitarian interventions is to fulfill their interests. There is only one alteration, according to which this form of intervention has developed to be legitimizing ideologies for the state projection of its hegemony in this era. The other criticism is the poor nature of the consistency of several policies of this form of intervention (Buckingham, 2011).

For instance, the former leader of the United States, Bill Clinton was rather an inconsistency leader. At that time, the state was launching some military operation against the state of Serbia while there was a slaughter in the country of Rwanda (McClintock, 2008).

Guerrilla Warfare

Guerrilla combatants are always at risk of being identified as lawful troops since they may not be in a specific uniform. They employ this kind of technique so as to intermingle well with the locals. Alternatively, they may have some small emblems that may not be easily identified by their opponents but rather by a friendly force. The law should not force them to wear uniforms since they would be easily recognized (McClintock, 2008).

The law relating to Protection of Victims of International Armed Conflicts does uphold these armed combatants who are non-uniformed and able to protect the society. The law should seek only to advise the combatants to carry their weapons openly during the military operations or have a small emblem to show their identity. This idea would be effective in differentiating them from a non-combatant group. The approach provides the non-uniformed legal combatant status (McClintock, 2008). Though risky, it would be ideal to participate in the guerrilla warfare protecting the society, but there should be an improvisation of specific recognition emblems in contrast to the full uniform that would be suicidal.

Guerrilla Warfare is a kind of irregular combat or a certain set of combatants, for instance, civilians who are armed. It could also be referred to the paramilitary personnel that employs some military tactics such as ambushes and raids among other techniques to battle another group. In the past, people practicing this kind of warfare have been regarded as rebels and mercenaries, and they have been branded as bandits and terrorists by military commanders (McClintock, 2008).

Regardless of the expressions, the significance of Guerrilla Warfare has changed considerably the entire history. In the past, the approach has been used as a means of protesting against any wrongdoing by the ruling government (McClintock, 2008). It has encountered disastrous defeats in the process. However, this technique expanded significantly during the Second World War. The most notable is the Muslim terrorist gang that attacked the United States during September 11 bombings. Several guerilla groups in various countries have turned to criminal terrorism.


Terrorism refers to any deed that is intended to bring terror. The action may be viewed to include a political goal. The term is politically loaded as well as emotionally charged. Terrorism has been conducted by various political groups with different objectives. The act is practiced by religious groups or revolutionaries. Ruling governments, as well as some nationalists groups, also practice terrorism (McClintock, 2008).

Torture in the Context of Terrorism and War

In this part of the essay, critical examination as to whether there should or should not be the employment of torture by nations against suspects of terrorism will be provided. Torture can be referred to deliberately exacting severe pain to a person and injuring an organism, which is accomplished by a torturer to a person who has been perceived to have committed a crime (McClintock, 2008). The victim is usually under the control of the person torturing him/her and may be confined in a premise having minimal powers to defend against all physical harm being done to him or her.

It should be evaluated whether torture should be reserved for an acute measure or approach during exceptional circumstances. However, while advocating for these, the following human rights should be put into considerations. One of them is the right to an alternative legal course in instances where there is a violation of the human rights; even if the perpetrator is on official duty, he must consider the right to live. Secondly, the right to freedom of movement must also be considered. Another right that must be put in place before considering torture as a form of combating terrorism and war is the right for a person to remain innocent until the law proves the person guilty (Buckingham, 2011).

The right of everyone being equal as far as the law is concerned and the right for everyone to appeal a certain conviction must be adhered to and reconsidered before a state or states decide to employ torture as a form of punishment to the perpetrators of terrorism. Even if a nation has all powers at its disposal to protect its citizens and secure its borders, and can also apply all working means to counter terrorism, it would not be advisable to employ the anti-human techniques to counter-attack terrorism. All rights must be observed, and the correct procedures must be followed. Torture should be totally excluded and prohibited as a means of fighting terror (McClintock, 2008).

Enhanced Interrogation Techniques

The United States had developed methods of dealing with its detainees with the help of the Criminal Intelligence Agency and other components of defense. The state was using techniques such as sleep deprivation where the detainees went to an instant of hallucinating. They were denied medical attention to the wounds they incurred while being under such treatment. They were also confined in boxes that resembled coffins (McClintock, 2008). Detainees would be made to lie on gurneys and pieces of materials placed on their face and would simulate the incident of drowning. The methods were authorized, but the mode of execution was too persistent as well as aggressive. The methods of execution were a form of torture (Buckingham, 2011).

Torture may be done in total silence or, in other words, official silence. Torture can also be semi-silent when the public knows of the vice going on but does not have any information concerning it. The other form is whereby the public is informed that an act of torture is going on, and information regarding it is revealed. Detainees of America at that moment were subjected to all these, and they were facing legal proceedings. This approach was a total violation of human rights (Buckingham, 2011).

However, torture is effective in some instances since the suspects can give important information that may be used to curb terrorism. On the other hand, it deprives of one’s rights to be judged before a court of law. When the intelligence department wants to access vital information concerning a security issue, for instance, if there is a bomb planted at a certain location where it cannot be traced and may cause mass death, torture of the suspects may be applied so that the suspect may give clear information about the issue and state who is responsible so as to detain them and bring them the court of law (Buckingham, 2011).

Torture indeed proves effective in some instances to bring confession or provide crucial information if the tortured are guilty. Torture may create a bad reputation internationally for a country practicing it and may have no option but to deviate from the techniques and adopt separate approaches that would uphold human rights. When a country is using torture as a means of punishment or abstracting critical information from the detainees, they may be perceived to have undertaken the correct procedure. However, if the same country’s military personnel or citizens undergo torture in a different state, they may feel as if they are denied the chance to try the citizens in their home states (Buckingham, 2011).

Torture is not legal under international law. The law clearly states that no person should be subjected to any form of inhuman treatment. The United States was issued with an ultimatum to cease these approaches by the United Nations Committee against torture since such form of punishments violates the worldwide law on torture. This approach has attracted many states to adopt the rule and to apply it in their law. The United States also uphold the rule. There have been several treaties regarding the vice; these include the United Nations Conventional against Torture as well as Geneva Conventions (McClintock, 2008).


On humanitarian grounds as well as on moral grounds, this form of punishment or technique to abstract information is not appropriate. In addition, the information obtained through torture may not be accurate since the victims may just give the information to minimize the punishment. Along with causing harm and injury to the suspect, the method also debases the party undertaking this form of punishment. Torture is abhorrent and repugnant, and these words are echoed by the Amnesty International that also claims that the act is immoral and degrades human rights. Another criticism is related to the fact that there is no scientific evidence that torture has proved effective. The report of the 2006 Intelligence Science Board presents no evidence of its effectiveness (Buckingham, 2011). Torture also leaves broken societies and only psychosocial aid, as well as redress to torture survivors, may help restore the society.

Conclusion and Recommendations

Instead of indulging in such acts as torture, states should deploy some other techniques that would be significant in abstracting information from the suspects thus alleviating violations of human rights. A state should have a well-trained team of interrogators and arm them with necessary skills that would ease their work on collecting vital information even from the most resistant suspects with dignity and respect. Each of the techniques employed by the United States violates even its laws, for example, the War Crimes Act as well as the US Torture Act. However, the September 11 attacks raised debates as to whether torture should be justified in some incidences in the United States.

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