Monday, 3 May 2010

The State of Jefferson

Since the birth of the US in 1776 the number of states has slowly increased from the original 13 to the present 50, either by expansion or administrative division of the existing territories. However, as Michael J. Trinklein points out in his beautifully illustrated book on lost states, there were some 70 states that died in infancy. Many of these are presented on his blog and I will present a little teaser below to lure you there.

Puerto Rico and Lincoln

Since the Spanish-American War in 1898, Puerto Rico has been governed by the US. Recently, Congress voted for a Puerto Rican referendum which might ultimately lead to statehood. If and when this happens the inclusion would be opposed by Republicans who fear the new state would be a democratic one. In 1959, Hawaii and Alaska gained statehood simultaneously to preserve the equilibrium between the parties. If Puerto Rico becomes a state, Trinklein would suggest the proposed state of Lincoln as a conservative counterpart. Lincoln was proposed as early as 1907, after Grover Cleveland had vetoed a bill to eliminate Idaho and divide its territories between the neighbours in 1886. Below is the 1907 proposed division.

You might want to consult your map right about now.

Idaho is in for it

Idaho is made up of leftovers from the surrounding states. What they did not bother to govern they gave to Idaho. Consequently, Idaho is often the favourite chopping board for secessionists. The author is one of these, suggesting the division to the left. The right one is another suggestion for the creation of the state of Lincoln, this one from 1917.

Poor Idaho


One of many proposed (and some accepted) states named after a Founding Father. The new taxes following the secssion did not sit well with all the citizens of the new formed US, so some of them decided to form a new state with their own system of taxation including "no taxes for two years". Despite the populistic sales pitch, the state was stillborn.

The American version of Andorra

Bud Gearhart and Iceland

In the 40's, Republican Congressman Bertrand W. Gearhart from California, described by President Truman as "one of the worst obstructionists in Congress" (Time Magazine), suggested that the US should buy Iceland and a number of other Atlantic islands and let them act as a buffer zone against Soviet. The zany scheme was waved off by Congress, but, as the author points out, 20 years later the Soviet did something similar with another strategically placed island...

"That will be a ton of cash, please"
(Source: CIA- The World Factbook)

States Out of Donald Duck

According to Don Rosa, Duckburgh is situated in the state of Calisota, a fictitious state named in Carroll-like fashion after California and Minnesota. Other suggestions for states show similar inventive attributes as to nomenclature.

The Suggested Civil War Free State of Nickajack

The Proposed state of Forgottonia


Home of Dracula, Werewolves and Bats

(For those interested, there is a lovely German map of Calisota based on Carl Barks' stories here)

And Finally - The State of Jefferson

Throughout the 20th and the latter half of the 19th century at least three unsuccessful attempts at creating a state called Jefferson were made. All were based on territories originally belonging to western states. The last attempt, in 1941, saw prospective Jeffersonians half-heartedly vowing to "secede every Thursday until further notice", according to this blog which tells the whole jolly tale. The left image is the original suggestion while the right is a flyer from those days of radicalism.

A few days later Japan attacked Pearl Harbour and everything sounding like secession was out of the question.



Research given in text or found on:

(Disclaimer: the validity of these facts are based solely on the given sources. My presentation of these cases should not be considered as anything but a popularised reiteration of the facts given in these sources. I am indebted to Mr. Trinklein and the Strange Maps webpage for my insight into this amazing field of human eccentricity)

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