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Secession: Radical reaction or right of the states?

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SOURCE: NBC News SOURCE: NBC News

NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC (WECT) - An online petition calling for the secession of North Carolina from the United States has enough signatures to prompt an official response from the White House.

Bernhard Thuersam, Chair of North Carolina League of the South, said the petitions may not achieve what they call for, but they are a start, nonetheless.

"To go to the federal government and say 'please, can we secede?' is really not the proper way to do it," he said.

Every state voluntarily signed the constitution, so they can voluntarily leave the union as well, according to Thuersam. He said it's a constitutional principal that many do no understand, and the recent petitions on pushing the discussion into the open.

"As unscientific as they may be, they show a great dislike for the federal government and it's interference and the intrusion it's making into the states," said Thuersam.

If a state were to secede, there would be a plan, according to Thuersam. He predicts several states banding together to form their own union. Thuersam said secession should not be considered 'unamerican', because it comes down to a misunderstanding of the constitution.

Michael Haas, Pre-Law Advisor at UNC-Wilmington, said Wednesday that the view of secession in America changed after the Civil War. Besides the Supreme Court precedent in 1869, Haas said people spoke about the United States differently before the war by considering it a plural.

"Before they said 'the United States are', and after it was 'the United States is, making it the singular entity it is today," said Haas.

The federal relief money given to states after natural disasters is a sticking point for Haas.

"When you talk of maybe $30 billion in damages from this Hurricane Sandy, that's something you have to keep in mind," he said.

To that, Thuersam said the states survived well enough before agencies like FEMA.

"We helped each other out," said Thuersam. "It's not done through the government."

A government that Thuersam considers out of touch with the more than 300 million people it represents. He suggests states and the people living in them would benefit from smaller governments as opposed to any administration in Washington, D.C.

"The scale is so out of touch," he said.

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