Monday, March 26, 2012

Welcome To The State of Jefferson, Where The Agenda is Freedom

America is no stranger to the idea of secession. In fact secession is the foundation of our nation as that is exactly what the Founding Fathers and colonists did during the Revolution. There was been several major secession movements throughout American history: the State of Franklin(1780s), the New England Secession Conventions(1800s), the Texas Republic(1836), The Confederate States of America(1860) and most recently the Republic of New Africka(1960s). But there is one place where the dreams of statehood still lives on in America, in the Pacific Northwest to be exact. The State of Jefferson, America's next (and current) secession movement.

The State of Jefferson has been in recognition of statehood since 1941. In October of '41 Orford, Oregon's Mayor Gilbert Gable proposed the joining of several counties in both Oregon and California to form the new state. What could have been Gable's reasoning for this? Perhaps a grudge against the state governments? Or maybe a political power play to get his name out there? Well it's neither. The actual reason for Gable's proposition was to draw attention to the lack of proper roads in the area. Gable and other political figures felt the lack of asphalted roads stunted the areas chance for economic growth. The idea spread like wildfire through the proposed state. It spread so quickly the the county representatives of Siskiyou County named the state Jefferson in the state capital of Yreka.

The State of Jefferson made national news in November of 1941 and took a major step toward independence. A group of "armed" men set up a boarder crossing on U.S. Route 99 just south of Yreka. There the men informed drivers they were entering the state of Jefferson and given a Proclamation of Independence. How would a Proclamation of Independence sound in 1941? Well a little like this,

You are now entering Jefferson, the 49th State of the Union.
Jefferson is now in patriotic rebellion against the States of California and Oregon.
This State has seceded from California and Oregon this Thursday, November 27, 1941.
Patriotic Jeffersonians intend to secede each Thursday until further notice.
For the next hundred miles as you drive along Highway 99, you are traveling parallel to the greatest copper belt in the far West, seventy-five miles west of here.
The United States government needs this vital mineral. But gross neglect by California and Oregon deprives us of necessary roads to bring out the copper ore.
If you don't believe this, drive down the Klamath River Highway and see for yourself. Take your chains, shovel and dynamite.
Until California and Oregon build a road into the copper country, Jefferson, as a defense minded state, will be forced to rebel each Thursday and act as a separate State.

The state now had an official Declaration of Independence and had just elected its first Governor, John C. Childs. However, even though the state of Jefferson seemed to be picking up steam the unthinkable was about to happen and not only change the course for the State of Jefferson but for the United States of America as well.

That's right FDR came in and ruined everything for the small state of Jefferson...ok thats a total lie. The first weakening to Jefferson's cause was the death of Mayor Gable the leading advocate for Jefferson's statehood. Yet in the wake of Gable's death, the state had newsreels ready to be broadcast the election of Governor Childs on December 8, 1941. By now you figured out how FDR fits into the history of Jefferson. The Pearl Harbor attack officially ended any chance of Jefferson becoming a state. The residents of Jefferson did as every other American did during WWII and that is took part in the war effort. There is some irony here though, a Japanese pilot dropped several bombs around Brookings, Oregon which would have been located in the State of Jefferson.

So whats going on with the State of Jefferson today? Well the fight for statehood still kind of exists. Today residents within the State of Jefferson still  feel neglected by the state governments of California and Oregon as the local politics differ greatly from mainstream politics. Also economically they differ as they are is home to scenic views and breathe taking landscape which draws many tourists and lovers of the outdoors and the economy is much more locally based and independent. The idea of secession is still strong and not just in the area of Jefferson. Sure many "Jeffersonians" are still pushing for statehood but there are also many pushing for the entire Pacific Northwest to break away and become its own state. But can Jefferson ever become a state? Sure they have every right to apply and petition Congress but can it pass? I highly doubt it but it would be pretty cool to see a new state born. But for now those in the State of Jefferson will still recognize it and what it stands for, Jefferson a state of mind.

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