We Are Not One People: Secession and Separatism in American Politics Since 1776 (Paperback)
E pluribus unum was suggested for the national seal in 1776, but national oneness has been haunted by its opposite ever since. We Are Not One People demonstrates how the persistence of separatist movements in American history reveals as much about the nation's politics as it does the would-be separatists. Each chapter explores how great swaths of Americans of every ideological stripe, in good times and bad, in and beyond the South, have disputed the nation's oneness and stressed its divisibility. Trumpeted in American myths, mottos, movies, and songs, separatism is omnipresent in American political culture. Separatist rhetoric has shaped Americans' experience of what it means to be an American, and we can learn much about the durable appeal and enduring fragility of the United States from those who tried to leave it. As one Vermont separatist quips, leaving is as American "as apple pie." We Are Not One People is a bold, pathbreaking, and far-reaching account of disunionists from 1776 to the present who wanted, as phrased in the Declaration of Independence, "to dissolve the political bands" connecting them to other Americans.
Michael J. Lee teaches and writes in the areas of political communication and rhetoric at the College of Charleston. He is particularly interested in the formation and expression of political identity in America. His research has earned over a dozen awards including five national book awards for Creating Conservatism: Postwar Words that Made an American Movement (2014). In the classroom, he teaches courses on eloquence, persuasion, political campaigns, journalism, and media. R. Jarrod Atchison studies argumentation and rhetoric at Wake Forest University where he is the John Kevin Medica Director of Debate. His research focuses on public argument, public address, and rhetorical history. His first book, A War of Words: The Rhetorical Leadership of Jefferson Davis, was published by the University of Alabama Press in 2017. As the Director of Debate, he works with the national championship winning Wake Forest debate program. He also teaches courses on argumentation theory, conspiracy theories, rhetorical theory and criticism, and the rhetoric of the South.