One hundred fifty years ago we were fighting a war over this issue.
Today, some Americans, unhappy with the election and the state of the union are petitioning to leave it peacefully.
The sudden renewed interest in secession closely follows what was for many an emotional conclusion to a divisive election, but it's also fueled by a general dissatisfaction with our federal government.
"I'm not happy with the way the government's running," says Sparks businessman Chris Hagen. "I think they are abusing their power and that's not the way our Constitution was designed."
Hagen's family run a small business selling commercial cleaning supplies. A self-described Libertarian who voted for Mitt Romney, he's worried about spending in Washington and suspicious of rumors of voter fraud.
Today he was ready to sign Nevada's petition.
It was there waiting for him in, of all places, the White House website, in a section called We The People, set up by the Obama administration last year to allow Americans the opportunity to voice their concerns to the federal government.
The secession petitions join a number of others including those seeking a repeal of Obamacare, the legalization of marijuana and the restoration of a popular sports host on a Columbus, Ohio radio station.
Following the election, a Louisiana man started one asking that his state be allowed to leave. Others joined in.
A Sparks man, Cody D., started one asking for Nevada's independence.
The website promises that any petition gaining 25-thousand signatures in 30 days will get a response from the administration.
Several states have already passed that threshold. Nevada needs 16 thousand more, though a number of the signatures to our petition come from non-Nevada locations like Elizabethtown, New Jersey and Wasilla, Alaska.
So, is anyone taking this seriously?
We stood on a corner in downtown Reno and got responses like this:
"I think people are crazy, but that's the what makes the world go around," Darryl Barnes said with a shrug..
"I think the whole idea is crazy," said Magan Robinson., "The whole thing is ridiculous."
"Disagreeing with an election to the point of 'Well, we don't like the election. We'll secede from the Union' is insane," said Mark Kollar.
Still, others, like Hagen, are eager to sign.
He says his signature will be a protest against an overreaching federal government.
But Nevada, a separate nation? Could it work?
"To me feasibly it could," insists Hagen. "If you get the right people to head it, it could."
But even Hagen admits he doesn't expect it to happen. In fact, it can't.
It turns out no state can actually leave the union legally. A persistent story to the contrary that includes Texas, by the way. The annexation that brought the Lone Star state into the union gave them the right to break up into five different states, but not secede.
Of course, a state could leave illegally. Eleven tried it once.
We all remember how that turned out.