Jefferson (proposed Pacific state)

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This article is about a proposed U.S. state on the Pacific coast. For other proposed states with the same name, see Jefferson (proposed Mountain state) and Jefferson (proposed Southern state).
State of Jefferson
Flag of Jefferson State seal of Jefferson
Flag of Jefferson Seal of Jefferson
Nickname(s): State of Mind
Map of the United States with Jefferson highlighted
Official language English
Demonym Jeffersonian
Capital Yreka, California (proposed 1941)
Largest city Redding, California
Largest metro Medford, Oregon
Area Ranked 22nd (hypothetical)
 - Total 67,472 sq mi
(169,759 km2)
 - Width 265 miles (467 km)
 - Length 113 miles (182 km)
 - % water Unknown
 - Latitude 38°45'N to 43°57'N
 - Longitude 119°18'W to 124°25'W
Population Ranked 51st (hypothetical)
 - Total 423,004
 - Density 6.27/sq mi  (2.49/km2)
Ranked 48th (hypothetical)
 - Highest point Mount Shasta
14,179 ft (4316.58 m)
 - Mean 7,081 ft  (2158.29 m)
 - Lowest point sea level
Admission to Union (Not admitted)
Governor None
Lieutenant Governor None
Legislature None
 - Upper house None
 - Lower house None
U.S. Senators None
U.S. House delegation None (list)
Time zone Pacific: UTC-8/-7
Abbreviations ,

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

20th century[edit]

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.
A barn near Yreka, California, the proposed capital of the State of Jefferson

In October 1941, the mayor of Port Orford, Oregon, Gilbert Gable, said 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]

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, the county seat of Siskiyou County, 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 ended quickly, 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 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]

21st century[edit]

As described by James V. Risser in a 2003 American Journalism Review article:[8]

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.

The Jefferson area has preferred Republican presidential candidates in recent decades, contrary to the consistent Democratic lean of California and Oregon as a whole. The state plurality have voted for Democrats in every election in California since 1992 and in Oregon since 1988. However, Republican candidates have carried the seven counties of the Jefferson proposal since 1996, except for a close Democratic victory in Jackson County in 2008. Ross Perot, a third-party presidential candidate, fared better in this region in 1992 than he did on average nationwide.[9]

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.[citation needed]

As of the 2010 Census, if the Jefferson counties were a state (original 1941 counties), the state's population would be 457,859: smaller than any state at the time. Approximately 82% of those residents live in Oregon. Its land area would be 21,349.76 square miles (55,295.6 km2) – a little smaller than West Virginia. The area is almost evenly divided between Oregon and California. Its population density would be 21.44 inhabitants per square mile (8.28/km2) – a little more than Idaho.[10] With the addition of the more modern Jefferson movement (Coos and Douglas and Lake Counties in Oregon, and Humboldt, Trinity, Shasta, Lassen, Mendocino, Lake, Tehama, Plumas, Glenn, and Butte Counties in California), the population as of the 2010 Census would be 1,416,434, making it the 40th most populous state in the US.

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 affiliated radio stations over the previous decade, and the network's management had decided to promote its service area as generally coextensive with the original State of Jefferson land region.[11]

The issue was again raised starting on September 3, 2013, when the Siskiyou County Board of Supervisors voted 4–1 in favor of withdrawal from California to form a proposed state named Jefferson.[12][13][14] The proposal was joined by the Modoc County Board of Supervisors (September 24)[15] and Glenn County Board of Supervisors (January 21, 2014).[16][17] On April 15, 2014 Yuba County supervisors joined the State of Jefferson movement to separate from California and create a new state of Jefferson.[18] On July 15, 2014 The Tehama County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to adopt a resolution supporting the declaration of withdrawal from California.[19] On July 22, 2014 the Board of Supervisors of Sutter County unanimously adopted a resolution supporting a declaration and petition to the Legislature to withdraw from California to redress a lack of representation.[20] The Jefferson Declaration Committee is reportedly aiming to get 12 counties in support.[12]

In 2014, Modoc and Siskiyou Counties delivered their declarations for independence from the state of California to the California Secretary of State's office. On 15 January, 2015, 4 more counties, Glenn, Sutter, Tehama, and Yuba Counties will be submitting their official declarations as well. On March 3, 2015, Lake County supervisors voted 3-2 to submit the question of secession to voters.

The movement also has groups in all 16 proposed counties for the separation as well a growing group in the counties in Oregon that were part of the original 1941 movement as well as other counties in the area.

Flag and seal[edit]

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 signify the two regions' "sense of abandonment" from the central state governments, in both Salem, Oregon and Sacramento, California.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Beginnings of Self-Government". End of the Oregon Trail Interpretive Center. Archived from the original on 2008-10-12. Retrieved 2011-07-21. 
  2. ^
  3. ^ Division of Texas from the Handbook of Texas Online
  4. ^ Hall, Christopher (September 2003). "Jefferson County: The State that Almost Seceded". Via: AAA Traveler's Companion (AAA Northern California, Nevada & Utah). Retrieved 2015-02-21. 
  5. ^ D'Souza, Tony (December 11, 2008). "State of Jefferson dreams were dashed by Pearl Harbor". Mount Shasta Herald. Retrieved 2015-02-21. 
  6. ^ Holt, Tim (June 24, 2011). "A modest proposal -- downsize California!". The San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 2015-02-21. 
  7. ^ "Bombs Fall on Oregon: Japanese Attacks on the State". Oregon State Archives, Office of the Secretary of State. January 31, 2008. Retrieved 2015-02-21. 
  8. ^ Risser, James V. (April 2003). "Public Radio Paradise". American Journalism Review. 
  9. ^ Dave Leip's Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections. Accessed November 21, 2012. California county-by-county results: 2012, 2008, 2004, 2000, 1996, 1992.
    Oregon county-by-county results: 2012, 2008, 2004, 2000, 1996, 1992.
  10. ^ Using the 2010 Census QuickFacts figures for each of the following counties: Curry, Josephine, Jackson, Klamath, Del Norte, Siskiyou, Modoc.
    "DataSet.txt". State & County QuickFacts. U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved November 16, 2012.  (See "Download the Database" for an explanation of this data set.)
  11. ^ "State of Jefferson - Jefferson Public Radio". 
  12. ^ a b Longoria, Sean, Siskiyou supervisors support withdrawal from California, Redding Record Searchlight, September 4, 2013, accessed September 4, 2013
  13. ^ Mather, Kate, Siskiyou County votes to pursue secession from California, Los Angeles Times, September 4, 2013, accessed September 4, 2013
  14. ^ Northern California County Board Votes For Secession From State, CBS, San Francisco, September 4, 2013
  15. ^ "Modoc County joins Siskiyou in state of Jefferson bid for secession". 2013-09-24. Retrieved 2013-09-25. 
  16. ^ "Supervisors vote to join secession effort". 2014-01-21. Retrieved 2014-01-22. 
  17. ^ "State of Jefferson takes root in Glenn County". 2014-01-21. Retrieved 2014-01-22. 
  18. ^ "Yuba County supervisors endorse State of Jefferson". 2014-04-16. Retrieved 2014-07-31. 
  19. ^ "Supervisors approve of Jefferson". 2014-07-15. Retrieved 2014-07-31. 
  20. ^ "Sutter County votes for State of Jefferson". 2014-07-23. Retrieved 2014-07-31. 

Further reading[edit]

  • James T. Rock. The State of Jefferson: the Dream Lives on! Siskiyou County Museum, 1999.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 42°N 122°W / 42°N 122°W / 42; -122