Many people, possibly even including recent Texas governors, think that Texas has a right to secede from the Union.

Does it, or does it not?

  • 3
    The US Constitution has no provision for states to leave the union, and a bitter and divisive war was fought over the question. I think it's safe to say the answer is "no, barring a constitutional amendment." What document or agreement supposedly confers such a right on Texas?
    – phoog
    Commented Jun 29, 2015 at 19:14
  • 1
    @phoog, I don't think your comment holds much water -- just because constitution doesn't have such a provision, is by no means an indication that secession is disallowed.
    – cnst
    Commented Jun 29, 2015 at 19:26
  • that was not the conclusion drawn by the supreme court in Texas v. White: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Texas_v._White
    – phoog
    Commented Jun 29, 2015 at 19:28
  • @phoog, but, according to texassecede.com/faq.php#texvwhite, White does seem to contradict with the later decision by the President to admit Texas back into the Union.
    – cnst
    Commented Jun 29, 2015 at 19:44
  • 1
    Edited to reflect that this is about legal rights. Texas's practical right was settled on a battlefield, not in a courtroom.
    – cpast
    Commented Jun 29, 2015 at 20:06

1 Answer 1


The U. S. Supreme Court ruled in 1869 that states may not unilaterally secede. The state litigant in the case was Texas. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Texas_v._White

  • 5
    @cnst that is a bit of spin. The actual act readmits Texas to "congressional representation" which does not necessarily imply that it had ceased to belong to the union -- only that it had ceased to be represented in congress. See tsl.texas.gov/ref/abouttx/secession/30march1870.html.
    – phoog
    Commented Jun 29, 2015 at 20:01
  • 1
    @Raphael how would the Montevideo convention affect the issue?
    – phoog
    Commented Oct 22, 2015 at 20:10
  • 1
    Article 1 seems to imply (to this layman of law) that a state is inherently self-defined and does not need any another states' justification. Hence, if the State of Texas were to declare itself independent (and fulfill the criteria stated in said article), there'd be nothing the remainder of the USA could do about it, short of violating international law they have ratified themselves (not that they were above that...).
    – Raphael
    Commented Oct 23, 2015 at 5:47
  • 1
    @Raphael From Wikipedia: "Article 1 is qualified by Article 11 because it prohibits using military force to gain recognition of sovereignty." Therefore, the US can prevent unilateral secession by sending the army to the state attempting to secede. If the US chose not to do that, it would be allowing the secession, and the secession would no longer be unilateral.
    – phoog
    Commented Oct 23, 2015 at 23:33
  • 5
    @Raphael Other than for the reasons phoog described, under the Montevideo Convention, Texas is not "state"; the U.S. is.
    – kisspuska
    Commented Jun 28, 2021 at 3:27

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .