"In a nation of 300 million people - each with their own set of deeply-held beliefs - democracy can be a noisy and controversial. And that's a good thing. Free and open debate is what makes this country work, and many people around the world risk their lives every day for the liberties we often take for granted," Carson said.
"But as much as we value a healthy debate, we don't let that debate tear us apart."
The eight states that had enough signatures, 25,000, to warrant responses were Alabama, Georgia, Florida, Louisiana, Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina and Texas.
Secession isn't a new idea at all. It was extremely popular in the 1800s. So popular, in fact, that the country fought a war over it.
Anyone who took a basic history course in school knows about the Civil War, which lasted for four years and resulted in the deaths of more than 600,000 forces. That number does not include civilians.
Carson said that while our founding fathers enshrined in the constitution "the right to change our national government through the power of the ballot," they did "not provide a right to walk away from it."
"Although the founders established a perpetual union, they also provided for a government that is, as President Lincoln would later describe it, 'of the people, by the people, and for the people,' - all of the people," Carson wrote.
The White House did not address each state's petition independently, but did also apply this response to a petition asking for the deportation of everyone who signed the petitions for state secession.
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Saturday, November 10 2012 1:48 PM EST2012-11-10 18:48:37 GMT
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