Voters in two northern California counties, Del Norte and Tehama, will soon decide whether they support a proposal to secede from the rest of the state and form a new sovereignty known as the state of Jefferson.
Within days voters will express their will on Measure A which would, according to the Los Angeles Times, “essentially ask the Board of Supervisors in each county to take up the matter and officially discuss supporting the secession movement, which has so far been joined by nearby Modoc, Siskiyou and Glenn counties.”
Within the would-be independent republic, there are 16 counties with a total population of more than 450,000. The area makes up approximately one-fourth of California’s land mass. The state would be over twice the geographical size of New Hampshire.
Although it is often painted as reactionary or racist, this movement is not new. A story chronicling a similar effort involving several Colorado counties highlighted some unsuccessful secession attempts:
• Arizona: In February 2011, Tucson politicians and activists tried to create the state of Baja Arizona.
• California: One of the most common places for threats of secession. Most recently, conservative counties proposed a Southern California.
• Colorado: In the mid-1930s, Huerfano County wanted to secede from the state.
• Florida: Most recently in 2011, the South Florida metropolitan area attempted to split Florida into North Florida and South Florida.
• Illinois: In November 2011, state representatives revived a proposal to split the state into Chicago and Illinois.
• Kansas: In 1992, a group of southwestern Kansans wanted a few counties to secede from Kansas and become West Kansas.
• Maine: In 2005, politicians of Aroostook County asked the state legislature to make the county a new state.
• Maryland: In September 2009, a Frederick County commissioner proposed that the county secede from Maryland.
• Massachusetts: In 1977, a Statehood Support Committee of Martha’s Vineyard promoted the secession of Nantucket from Massachusetts.
• Minnesota: In 1997, the Northwest Angle region suggested seceding from the United States and joining Canada.
• Nebraska: Panhandle residents threatened to secede from Nebraska and join Wyoming.
• New Mexico: From 1970-90, local activists proposed that the southern half become West Texas and the eastern half become North Texas.
• New York: In 2009, proposals were floated for a New York and West New York.
• Ohio: In 2005, a county executive of Summit County wanted Akron to secede from Ohio and become Northeast Ohio.
• Oregon: In 2008, there was a proposal to secede eastern Oregon and eastern Washington and join the two together.
• Utah: In 2008, the southern part of Utah wanted to form its own state.
• Vermont: In 2004 and 2005, the town of Killington voted to secede from the state and become part of New Hampshire.
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