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The Civil War that Wasn’t

Every schoolkid knows that the secession of seven Southern states precipitated the U.S. civil war….

  • August 9, 2017

Every schoolkid knows that the secession of seven Southern states precipitated the U.S. civil war. What they don’t know is that this wasn’t the last time Americans seceded.

In fact, it happened again in Wisconsin, (of all places), fifty years ago.

As the U.S. Census Bureau tells the tale, it was in July of 1967 that Winneconne, Wisconsin declared its independence. Residents were annoyed that their town of some 1,300 was accidentally left off the state’s 1967 road map.

Upon forming the Sovereign State of Winneconne, the secessionist government set up toll-gates at the border, plotted to annex nearby Oshkosh, good naturedly declared war on the United States, and contemplated seeking annexation by another state with better weather.

Wisconsin’s then governor negotiated a settlement satisfactory to the rebels. Winneconne rejoined Wisconsin just after midnight on July 22nd.

An annual Sovereign State Days celebration commemorates the event in the town now grown to 2,400 residents.

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