The attempt of the Southern States to secede from the American Federation in 1861, created a dangerous crisis in the history of America. The crisis turned into an internal war and, by the superior military power of the Center, they had to be kept within the Federation as integral part of the country which was, at that time, already moving towards plenty and prosperity. It was a complex process, and the Northern Federal Government really showed some extraordinary skills in order to bring the South back into the political system.
In 1776, under the brilliant leadership of George Washington, 13 British Colonies in America united together and achieved a glorious freedom. On November 15, 1777, a confederation was created in order to provide for common defense, securities for their liberties and for their mutual and general welfare in the future. But the system had many loopholes and, hence, soon the leaders felt that the system must be either revised or superseded by a new one. Thus, the Philadelphia Convention was held in May 1787 which introduced a full fledged Federation for fostering a sense of unity among the units.
According to K.C. Wheare, “The fear of military insecurity and the consequent need of common defense, a desire to be independent of foreign power and the need of economic prosperity etc. have encouraged modern nations to form Federations” (Wheare).
Naturally, it needs unity among the federal units and the supremacy of the national Government. In the view of Bernard Schwartz, “The American system has properly ensured those arrangements in case of McCulloch v. Maryland; and it was declared in the case of Texas v. White (1869) that America was “an indestructible union, composed of indestructible states”. So, no unit can secede from it and, an attempt to do so can be failed by the superior power of the Center.
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