them, she argues, there might not be a U.S. Constitution or Bill of Rights.
"We can have a very civil war over this," she said with a laugh.
North Carolina Governor Mike Easley, who helped recover the cherished charter, laughed right back.
"Tennessee is well-known for making good whiskey; maybe she's been drinking it," Easley said. "Tennessee needs to remember when you leave home, you leave the property behind."
Four mountain counties in what would become northeast Tennessee rebelled against North Carolina in 1784 and formed the independent state of Franklin. North Carolina's General Assembly gave the Tennessee territory to the federal government on Dec. 12, 1789, 10 days before ratifying the Bill of Rights. It became a state in 1796.
"Nice try," said Jeff Crow, the Cultural Resources Department's deputy secretary for archives and history. "Tennessee was not part of North Carolina when the General Assembly ratified the Bill of Rights or when the Bill of Rights formally was adopted by the nation. But who's picky?"
Attorney General Roy Cooper has a suggestion: "We'll be glad to reannex Tennessee if they'd like to become North Carolina citizens again," Cooper said. "That's the only way they can have our copy of the Bill of Rights."
Griffin proposes hanging a copy of the document in her home town of Dayton, site of the 1925 Scopes Monkey Trial.
The handwritten document, one of at least 14 copies made in 1791 for the first 13 states and the federal government, is faded but in "reasonable condition," said Joseph Torsella, president of the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia. Curators put it's value at $20 million to $30 million, he said.
President George Washington sent the handwritten copy to North Carolina in 1789 to persuade the state to approve the Constitution. A Union soldier stole it from the state Capitol in 1865 at the end of the Civil War, and it had been missing ever since.
When someone tried Tuesday to sell the document to a Philadelphia museum, federal undercover agents seized it. No arrests have been made.
State and national authorities are asking a federal judge to give it back to North Carolina.
"Yankees took it," Easley said. "I didn't think we'd have to keep it from Southerners, too."