Well, I've got a few things to add...
First: Whether or not Vermont can seceede depends in large part on the nature of the constitution and its ratification. The United States Constitution
is not explicit on the matter of secession. Some believe that the ability to seceede was implicit, others believe that it was simply not intended to
exist, but could not be stated if the constitution was to be ratified.
Here are the questions I consider crucial:
1. Were the states sovereign under the Articles of Confederation, or were they already constituents of a single nation?
2. If they were constituents of a single nation, would the constitution have actually survived if Rhode Island had never ratified?
3. If both of the following are answered yes, is any claim to the illigitmacy of the US Constitution voided by the fact that the state which entered
under duress, namely Rhode Island, has been a member of the Union without attempt, or even serious consideration of secession for over 200 years?
Article II of the Articles of Confederation explicitly states that the states retain their sovereignty. Unfortunately the answer is not that easy.
Article VI states that no two or more states may form a separate alliance, confederation, etc without the consent of the Congress.
Article XIII states that the Union is perpetual and the duties of the states under the Articles of Confederation are inviolable.
Ultimately, it is clear that the states did not have the legal right to seceede from the Confederation and enter into the Federal Republic, except by
the amendment of the Articles of Confederation to that affect, ratified by all 13 states.
The Constitution claimed to only need the ratification of 9 states. This, in light of the fact that secession was illegal and that the Constitution
could only be an amendment of the Articles of Confederation, was clearly illegal as an academic matter.
As a practical matter, the success of this coup was ensured once Virginia and New York ratified. In fact, the Capital was selected, Congress held its
first session, and George Washington was elected, all before Rhode Island ratified the Constitution. It is clear that that the Constitution would have
been followed illegally even without Rhode Island's ratification.
At this point, it is clear that the United States were never intended to be divisible. Not only could a state not seceede from the Articles of
Confederation government, but when a coup took place, Rhode Island was essentially strong-armed into remaining a part of the union. There is no
Question 3 remains. Is the Constitution a legitimate government? If it is not, by virtue of the fact that it was officially instituted with 4 fewer
ratifications than were required, and was actually put into action with 1 ratification fewer than it needed (essentially blackmailing Rhode Island
into ratification) then legally the 13 original states absolutely have the right to insist that they retain all of the rights allowed by the Articles
of Confederation. They cannot seceede then, but they can assert an incredible amount of autonomy compared to what the Constitution allows.
Edit to add: One more problem. Vermont wasn't one of the original 13 states, but they were a part of NH at the time. So there's a little wiggle room
for debate over whether or not they are entitled to recognition of any rights under the Articles of Confederation, if the Constitution is deemed
invalid. (end edit)
Second: Practically speaking, Vermont can't secede unless New York and Everything East goes too, and at the very least joins with Quebec, if not all
of Canada. Even then they wouldn't be as well off. The US needs them, and they need the US. They can't seriously expect to leave and retain the
benefits of doing business with us. If they screw the rest of America, the rest of America will want to screw them back. Connecticut's insurance
industry- gone. The all-mighty dollar- tanked. Access to American oil reserves- gone. The military which insures their interests abroad (New York
might not like it- but they need it)- no longer at their disposal. Duty-free access to the road and rail infrastructure which bring them goods from
the rest of the US- they wish (I don't see New England anywhere in NAFTA- do you?)
Long story short, if they seceede, their taxes go up, not down, and they find themselves on the wrong side of some very very bitter neighbors who have
a lot of tanks. They seceede at their own risk, and they seceede by the leave of the US as a whole.
Third: Not all states are equal. If Hawaii seceedes, America will let them go and soon forget that they're gone. 1. The Red States will be glad
they're gone. 2. We won't miss them too much economically or strategically. 3. They have a perfectly legitimate claim- they still have a large
indigenous population which was annexed against their will by force. 4. They're not part of the CONUS- they're out of sight and out of mind. They
aren't even part of the textbook image of the United States. They're usually shown way in the lower left corner of the map in an easy-to-miss inset
box. The shape of America wouldn't change- that's very psychologically reassuring the shallow masses. If you asked the average American to draw a
picture of the United States, they wouldn't even draw Hawaii.
On the same note, I think Alaska -might- get away with it if they joined Canada and signed a treaty relating to the oil.
Last but not least, let's use the Civil War as our guide. Anybody ever heard of the Crittenden Compromise? The North was ready to cave in and settle
for containment of slavery- it dang near happened. If state legislatures started voting on secession, the remaining state legislatures would call for
an amending convention, invite the separatists in, and basically bend over backwards to keep the country together. They'd probably abandon all
federal law before they let someone go. Abandon full faith and credit, leave gay marriage etc up to popular sovreignity, require 2/3s or 3/4 vote for
declarations of war. I think that once the reality really set in, a secession wouldn't last for more than a few months.
After last and definitely least, I call First Titor by reminding everyone that if Vermont seceedes they're going to get nuked and all that's gonna
be left is a bunch of religious country folk. Explanation
[edit on 29-12-2005 by The Vagabond]