The United Kingdom will depart the European Union after 52% of British, Irish and Commonwealth residents living in the UK cast their "leave" ballot in yesterday's referendum. Also eligible to vote were British citizens who left the UK within the past 15 years. Polls found that voters were torn on the decision, with the one side advocating that leaving the EU would secure borders, while the other side claimed that remaining in the EU would secure a strong economy. Following the referendum, the EU will consist of 27 countries.
The EU has evolved over many decades. Its roots go back to shortly after World War II, when Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg and the Netherlands formed a union as they sought stability through increased trade. The UK formally joined the coalition on Jan. 1, 1973. Only two years later, the British held a referendum very similar to yesterday's vote -- and decided to remain in the union, which back then was called the European Economic Community, or EEC. It became the EU in 1993 when the Maastricht Treaty came into effect; it also established the euro as the common currency used by most EU countries. The UK never adopted the euro -- instead, it still uses the British pound.
Sydney Van Morgan, director of the International Studies Program and Senior Lecturer in the Department of Sociology at Johns Hopkins University's Krieger School of Arts & Sciences, joins Tom in-studio to discuss how the UK's decision to leave the EU might impact British-American relations.