The road to secession is long and winding. But five Colorado counties voted in favor of exploring secession from the state last night, adding northern Colorado to the long list of American areas that think seceding just might answer all their problems. Six other Colorado counties considered the measure and defeated it.
Secession requires approval from more than a handful of counties, so few think North Colorado – as the territory would be called – will be the 51st state anytime soon. (The last time a territory split from a state was Maine from Massachusetts in the 1820s). But Tuesday’s vote marks the latest in a flurry of secession efforts from disgruntled Americans.
“The heart of the 51st State Initiative is simple: We just want to be left alone to live our lives without heavy-handed restrictions from the state Capitol,” secession advocate Jeffrey Hare told The Denver Post. Some rural areas report feeling disenfranchised by Colorado’s more liberal, urban-focused policies, like gun control.
It’s a familiar refrain. Rural counties in Maryland, California, and Oregon have mulled secession in one way or another, according to The Daily Beast. While the secessionists are perhaps more harsh in their conclusions, many Americans are disgrunted with the U.S.—satisfaction with the nation overall is at 16%, down drastically from early 2003’s 60% satisfaction rate.
And it’s not just local politicians whom secessionists are fed-up with—many want their states to seceed from the country as a whole. Following the 2012 election, a handful of states sought secession in less formal ways, through petitions and headline-grabbing complaints.
Florida, Louisiana, Georgia, Tennessee, Alabama, North Carolina, South Carolina and Texas all created online We the People petitions on the White House’ website—the Texas petition was quite successful, gathering more than 125,000 signatures.
The White House responded to the motions, reminding petitioners that the Founding Fathers didn’t suggest jumping ship in the country’s Constitution.
“In a nation of 300 million people—each with their own set of deeply-held beliefs—democracy can be noisy and controversial,” the White House’s Jon Carson wrote. “But as much as we value a healthy debate, we don’t let that debate tear us apart.”