Jefferson (Pacific state)

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State of Jefferson
(formally proposed)
Flag of JeffersonState seal of Jefferson
Flag of JeffersonSeal of Jefferson
Nickname(s): State of Mind
Map of the United States with Jefferson highlighted
Official language(s)English
CapitalYreka, California (proposed 1941)
Largest cityRedding, California
Largest metro areaMedford, Oregon
Area Ranked 41st (hypothetical) in the U.S.
 - Total67,472 sq mi
(169,759 km2)
 - Width265 miles (467 km)
 - Length113 miles (182 km)
 - % waterUnknown
 - Latitude38°45'N to 43°57'N
 - Longitude119°18'W to 124°25'W
Population Ranked 51st (hypothetical) in the U.S.
 - Total423,004
 - Density6.27/sq mi  (2.49/km2)
Ranked 48th (hypothetical) in the U.S.
Elevation 
 - Highest pointMount Shasta
14,179 ft (4316.58 m)
 - Mean7,081 ft  (2158.29 m)
 - Lowest pointsea level
Admission to Union (Not admitted)
GovernorNone
Lieutenant GovernorNone
LegislatureNone
 - Upper houseNone
 - Lower houseNone
U.S. SenatorsNone
U.S. House delegationNone (list)
Time zonePacific: UTC-8/-7
Abbreviations
Websitewww.jeffersonstate.com
 
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State of Jefferson
(formally proposed)
Flag of JeffersonState seal of Jefferson
Flag of JeffersonSeal of Jefferson
Nickname(s): State of Mind
Map of the United States with Jefferson highlighted
Official language(s)English
CapitalYreka, California (proposed 1941)
Largest cityRedding, California
Largest metro areaMedford, Oregon
Area Ranked 41st (hypothetical) in the U.S.
 - Total67,472 sq mi
(169,759 km2)
 - Width265 miles (467 km)
 - Length113 miles (182 km)
 - % waterUnknown
 - Latitude38°45'N to 43°57'N
 - Longitude119°18'W to 124°25'W
Population Ranked 51st (hypothetical) in the U.S.
 - Total423,004
 - Density6.27/sq mi  (2.49/km2)
Ranked 48th (hypothetical) in the U.S.
Elevation 
 - Highest pointMount Shasta
14,179 ft (4316.58 m)
 - Mean7,081 ft  (2158.29 m)
 - Lowest pointsea level
Admission to Union (Not admitted)
GovernorNone
Lieutenant GovernorNone
LegislatureNone
 - Upper houseNone
 - Lower houseNone
U.S. SenatorsNone
U.S. House delegationNone (list)
Time zonePacific: UTC-8/-7
Abbreviations
Websitewww.jeffersonstate.com

The State of Jefferson was a proposed U.S. state that would span the contiguous, mostly rural area of southern Oregon and northern California, where several attempts to secede from Oregon and California, respectively, have taken place in order to gain own statehood.

This region on the Pacific Coast is the most famous of several that have sought to adopt the name of Thomas Jefferson, the third President of the United States. Thomas Jefferson sent the Lewis and Clark expedition into the Pacific Northwest in 1803, and envisioned the establishment of an independent nation in the western portion of North America which he dubbed the "Republic of the Pacific",[1] hence the association of his name with regional autonomy. The independence movement (rather than statehood) is instead known as Cascadia.

The name "Jefferson" has also been used for other proposed states: the name was proposed in the 19th century for Jefferson Territory (roughly modern Colorado), as well as in 1915 in a bill in the Texas legislature for a proposed state that would be created from the Texas Panhandle region.[2][3]

Contents

20th century

Darker areas show the State of Jefferson, as proposed by Gilbert Gable in 1941. Modern versions of the movement usually include the lighter areas as well.

In October 1941, the mayor of Port Orford, Oregon, Gilbert Gable, announced that the Oregon counties of Curry, Josephine, Jackson, and Klamath should join with the California counties of Del Norte, Siskiyou, and Modoc to form a new state, later named Jefferson.[4]

Gable proposed creating Jefferson to draw attention to the condition of the state roads along the Oregon-California border, which at the time were oiled dirt roads that became impassable in rain or snow, and hampered economic development. As local historian Jim Rock explains, "It was more publicity stunt than serious secession movement at that point. After all, under the U.S. Constitution, they had to get the approval of Congress as well as the legislatures of both states."[citation needed]

Gable's act found sympathy throughout the region, whose residents perceived their respective legislatures as indifferent to their needs. Siskiyou County especially embraced the cause: the county seat Yreka became the provisional capital, where in November 1941, county representatives met and selected the name Jefferson for their state, in commemoration of Thomas Jefferson, the nation's third president.[citation needed]

While inhabitants in Lassen and Shasta counties in northern California flirted with joining the secession movement, only the counties of Curry, Siskiyou, Trinity, and Del Norte actually endorsed the idea.[citation needed]

A naming contest held by the Siskiyou Daily News in November 1941 considered the possibilities for the would be state: Orofino, Bonanza, Discontent, Jefferson, Del Curiskiyou, and Siscurdelmo.[citation needed]

On November 27, 1941, a group of young men gained national media attention when, brandishing hunting rifles for dramatic effect, they stopped traffic on U.S. Route 99 south of Yreka, and handed out copies of a Proclamation of Independence, stating that the state of Jefferson was in "patriotic rebellion against the States of California and Oregon" and would continue to "secede every Thursday until further notice."[5]

The secession movement came to an abrupt end, though not before John C. Childs of Yreka was inaugurated as the governor of the State of Jefferson.[6] The first blow was the death of Mayor Gable on December 2, followed five days later by the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7. Secessionists focused their efforts on the war effort, which crippled the movement. Coincidentally, the "state of Jefferson" was one of the few places in the continental USA to be the subject of an attack during World War II, when Japanese pilot Nobuo Fujita dropped bombs on the Oregon Coast near Brookings on September 9, 1942.[7]

Today

As described in an April, 2003, American Journalism Review article:

The "state" is diverse politically, with a mixture of conservatives and liberals. Many share the Westerner's common disdain of government and politics. "Politicians and diapers need to be changed often for the same reason," reads one bumper sticker. And many also share a desire to hang on to the landscape that draws both residents and tourists to an area that stretches from the stunning Oregon coast to ethereal Crater Lake and down to California's towering Mt. Shasta. The region retains this identity reinforced by institutions such as Jefferson Public Radio.

Jefferson is commemorated by the State of Jefferson Scenic Byway between Yreka and O'Brien, Oregon, which runs 109 miles along State Route 96 and U.S. Forest Service Primary Route 48. Near the California - Oregon border, a turnout provides scenic views of the Klamath River valley and three informative display signs about the republic.

As of July 2008, if the core Jefferson counties were a state, the state's population would be 453,000. A broader definition, including neighboring counties of similar cultural, economic and political mindsets, would give Jefferson a population of more than 1.3 million.

In 1989, KSOR, the National Public Radio member station based at Southern Oregon University in Ashland, near Medford, rebranded itself as Jefferson Public Radio. It had built a massive network of translators over the last decade, and had recently realized that its service area was virtually coextensive with the old State of Jefferson.

A 2012 book by Marcus Ruiz Evans entitled California's Next Century details an overhauling of California's statehood via a plan to embrace its unique global role and form itself as an independent republic, uniquely poised to become the Switzerland of the 21st century, a global nerve center of international diplomacy, technology and finance. [8]

Flag

The field of the flag is green, and the charge is the Seal of the State of Jefferson: a gold mining pan with the words "The Great Seal Of State Of Jefferson" engraved into the lip, and two Xs askew of each other. The two Xs are known as the "Double Cross", and signifies the region's sense of abandonment from the state governments in both Salem, Oregon and Sacramento, California.

See also

References

Further reading

External links