Thursday, September 5, 2013

Siskiyou County, California, Takes the Plunge, Votes to Secede as Kernel of New “State of Jefferson”

Recently on this blog I reported that the board of supervisors in Siskiyou County, in northern California, was considering whether to secede and form the State of Jefferson—referring to the 1941 idea to create a (what would at that point have been the) 49th state out of rural counties along both sides of the Oregon–California border.  The Siskiyou county seat, Yreka, was to have been its capital.  The resurgence of the State of Jefferson idea is part of a recent wave of 51st-state movements driven by conservative politics, including a South California movement, a North Colorado movement (which I have blogged about here, here, and here), a Western Maryland movementa State of Superior movement based in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula (U.P.), and a proposal by central Illinois lawmakers to split off Chicago as its own state, leaving Illinois a Republican Party stronghold.  See my article about developments in Siskiyou and North Colorado for a full detailed discussion of the State of Jefferson movement.

The State of Jefferson flag.  The “X”es refer to being “double-crossed” by urban élites.
Well, now, the Siskiyou supervisors (as the county-level legislators are called), at a meeting on September 3rd, voted 4-1 to secede as the State of Jefferson, according to reports, and a call was made to any counties that wished to join them.  With this, Jefferson, in its aspirations for statehood, joins the North Colorado movement—which will be on the ballot in 11 counties in November—as not just talk but a serious movement.  The Los Angeles Times reports that the hundreds who filled the hall when the vote was taken on Tuesday seemed, from a show of hands, to be nearly unanimous in supporting the idea.  One resident was quoted as saying, “Many proposed laws are unconstitutional and deny us our God-given rights.  We need our own state so we can make laws that fit our way of life.”  As in western Maryland, northeastern Colorado, and the Michigan U.P., gun rights, tax revolt, and opposition to same-sex marriage and to Barack Obama’s health-care reforms seem to be among the chief complaints—though in California the diversion of northern water to southern cities is a perennial source of regional animosity.

The original Jeffersonian secessionists
As a side note, if Siskiyou were to secede, it would not be the smallest U.S. state.  Western counties are quite large, and, at over 6,000 square miles, it would still be larger than Connecticut, Delaware, or Rhode Island.  However, with just under 45,000 people, it would far and away be the least populous; Wyoming, the current least-populous, has more than 10 times as many people.

I humbly predict that a cascade of Oregon and California counties will soon join the movement—maybe it will even spread beyond the original Jefferson area.  This is a trend that has legs.

[Also, for those who are wondering, yes, this blog is tied in with a forthcoming book, a sort of encyclopedic atlas to be published by Auslander and Fox under the title Let’s Split! A Complete Guide to Separatist Movements, Independence Struggles, Breakaway Republics, Rebel Provinces, Pseudostates, Puppet States, Tribal Fiefdoms, Micronations, and Do-It-Yourself Countries, from Chiapas to Chechnya and Tibet to Texas.  Look for it some time in 2013.  I will be keeping readers posted of further publication news.]

1 comment:

  1. Not a bad blog but far to politically injected. Rather than seeing it as a way to bolster right wing politics, maybe some of these statehood movements are actually trying to seek equal representation under the law. Honestly, I don't believe the states of the US were ever set up well and they should be fluid and creating new states all the time. For instance, nearly 30 cities in the US (not counting metros) have a population greater than the leas tpopulace state, Wyoming. Therefore, at least 30 cities, that could be states themselves, are poorly represented, while Republican Wyoming enjoys greater representation in US politics (2 senators of their own for instance). The US was set up for equal representation for all and yet, with all the gerrymandering and state border travesties, etc. there is hardly a case of equal representation for anyone. Therefore their is a stifiling of beliefs and convictions from both sides. It's not a politically based arguement but you seem to constantly try to make it one.


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