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Secession recalls the American Civil War, in which 11 Southern states withdrew from the Union, citing their desire for a different government. More than 150 years later, following the re-election of President Obama, secession has again entered the national consciousness – this time with petitions from all 50 states.
Though all 50 states have submitted petitions, those petitions range in support on a state-by-state basis.
The petition with the most support belongs to Texas, with 109,969 signatures, roughly 0.42 percent of the population, as of Thursday night according to petitions.whitehouse.gov.
Web viewers are able to register their names with the website and sign petitions.
The first petition was filed in Slidell, La., on Nov. 7. Texas followed suit two days later last Friday.
All of the sates combined had a total of 798,435, roughly 0.25 percent of the population.
The White House provides a 30-day window of time for petitions on the website to reach 25,000 signatures. If the minimum number of signatures is reached, a response from the White House is supposed to follow.
Louisiana, Florida, Georgia, Tennessee, Alabama and North Carolina have also met the 25,000 signature requirement necessary for White House attention.
“I don’t think it’s the number one priority on Obama’s agenda to respond,” said Kerrville senior Jacob Reagan, president of Baylor’s Young Republicans of Texas. “I’m sure he’ll get enough pressure to say something and the White House will release some generic statement that they understand our frustration, but they won’t let us leave the Union.”
Although the petitions are not filed by the states and are not legal instruments in any way, they serve as a barometer of public sentiment.
Colene Coldwell, a senior lecturer in the Hankamer School of Business, said she understood why some might sign a petition for secession.
“An individual who longs for smaller government, less intrusion into my life, an end to Obamacare and the like, might sign the petition just to be heard without any sincere belief that Texas might secede,” she said. Coldwell said she did not sign the petition.
Coldwell said she received emails from friends and acquaintances out-of-state in response to the petition.
“Thank God for Texas, You gotta love Texas, and the like. The petition is entirely in keeping with the image that Texas has, at home and in the outside world, the ‘take no prisoners’ approach where we say what we think is right no matter who is offended,” she said.
Dallas senior Travis Parker, a supporter of Texas secession, said the current government contradicts the ideals the Founding Fathers meant to create.
“I think we’ll definitely have the possibility to secede,” Parker said. “If you want to stop us, come stop us. The good thing is 70 percent of the military is from the South. Who has the guns?”
Parker said he was “planning on the South to rise again.” However, he said there are holes in the plan.
“The biggest issue would be how to handle the people who didn’t want to secede,” Parker said. “There would obviously need to be a vote to secede and what would we do with the people that didn’t want to? Would we deport them? ”
And those who want to leave the United States because of Democrat control might find the plan backfires.
“Republicans would never be able to win a nationwide election again if Texas leaves, taking with it 38 electoral votes,” Reagan said.
Not everyone wants to secede. Some cities, like Austin, are resisting a Texas secession and are opting for petitions to remain in the union.
El Paso has also started a petition to secede from Texas because “El Paso is tired of being a second class city within Texas,” the petition said. Austin’s petition currently has 7,327 signatures while El Paso’s has 859.
“I think it’s kind of ridiculous that people think we have the right to secede legally,” Reagan said. “I think it would be a really bad idea if Texas was allowed to secede.”
Westminster, Ma., junior Alex Pecoraro said she thinks that as a whole, the United States works well together because of all the various opinions that citizens have and for any state to secede would be detrimental.
“The American people should respect that the president is who the majority of people voted for, and they should respect him as commander-in-chief.”
Caroline Brewton and Alexa Brackin contributed to this report.