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The cost of secession best marked in blood

Most of the United States of America was bought and paid for by the federal government. For states and their citizens beyond the original 13 that ratified the Constitution of the United States of America to contend they can secede is absurd; that is, unless they are willing to pay back the rest of us.

Take Kentucky.

Most of us in northern Indiana don’t take kindly to our southern neighbor because they are ingrates when it comes to things important like college basketball.

But Kentucky was prepared to start a new western republic in America if Presidents George Washington, John Adams and Thomas Jefferson had not deployed three American armies to defeat Little Turtle’s Indian confederation at Kekionga. Kentucky-based land speculators then developed Fort Wayne.

Without Washington’s determination to control the Ohio Region, the Louisiana Purchase was out of Jefferson’s geopolitical reach. Great Britain, Spain, France and Russia were ready to divide up America, but we fought a bloody and costly Civil War to maintain and build an industrial continental empire that saved the world from dictatorship and ethnic cleansing.

In his memoirs, U.S. Grant, president and Civil War hero, acknowledged the legitimacy of the original southern states to secede from the union, but not to walk away from the costs of building the union. Grant was disgusted by the meaningless of the Mexican-American War.

America secured Texas, Arizona, New Mexico and southern California. Texas, however, became a slave state, while the rest of Mexico was left to rot because Washington didn’t know what to do with it. So far from God; too close to the United States, became Mexico’s fate.

So here’s an easy answer for anti-government tea party activists who want to secede from the union while they make money using public lands for personal gain. If you want to claim Texas, Wyoming, Idaho or whatever western state, buy back the accumulated debt, blood and sacrifice the rest of the nation paid for you, adjusted for inflation and with interest.

And, good luck in the world of international commerce and monetary exchanges.

Maybe the Chinese, Iranians and Venezuelans can help you out.

Mark Helmke is a professor of strategic communications at Trine University in Angola. He wrote this for The Journal Gazette.