I'm Free on Thursday

Some fun recovered history from Bill Kauffman: the saga of the State of Jefferson, a handful of counties along the California-Oregon border who attempted to secede from Sacramento and Salem. Here is the zone's proclamation of temporary autonomy:

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 travelling 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.

(Please carry this proclamation with you and pass them out on your way.)

STATE OF JEFFERSON CITIZENS COMMITTEE
TEMPORARY STATE CAPITOL, YREKA

"Inauguration Day," Kauffman writes, "featured a torchlight parade through Yreka led by brother bears named Itchy and Scratchy. Marchers carried signs reading OUR ROADS ARE NOT YET PASSABLE, HARDLY JACKASSABLE; IF OUR ROADS YOU WOULD TRAVEL, BRING YOUR OWN GRAVEL; and THE PROMISED LAND--OUR ROADS ARE PAVED WITH PROMISES. Well, look--Mayor Gable had been a flack for the phone company, so don't expect poetry on the order of 'Winston tastes good like a cigarette should.'"

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  • ||

    An interesting piece of history, also known as the Siskiyou Rebellion. Unfortunately, interest in the project evaporated after Pearl Harbor.

  • ||

    brother bears named Itchy and Scratchy

    Really? Really really?

  • some guy||

    Holy crappy timing!

  • ||

    So was Chester J. Lampwick from Jefferson?

  • Mike Laursens of the World||

    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.

    Why didn't they build their own roads?

  • kinnath||

    Why didn't they build their own roads?

    Huge swaths of western US is owned by the feds or the state. You can't build a private road across public lands.

  • ||

    Why didn't they build their own roads?

    I believe that the States of California and Oregon had a monopoly on that at the time.

    Also, I'm somewhat dubious of the claim that the copper was "vital", at least insofar as the exploitation of the deposits in question were concerned. If it had been profitable to exploit it, Anaconda or Bethlehem would have made sure that the right buttons were pushed in Sacramento and Salem.

  • Episiarch||

    OUR ROADS ARE NOT YET PASSABLE, HARDLY JACKASSABLE; IF OUR ROADS YOU WOULD TRAVEL, BRING YOUR OWN GRAVEL

    Nice. I love old-time smartassery.

  • ||

    A part of one state seceding from another without the states permission is clearly unconstitutional IIRC.

  • ||

    brother bears named Itchy and Scratchy

    Really? Really really?


    I wouldn't be surprised if that's where Matt Groening got the idea for his character names. He grew up in Oregon and went to college in Washington, and a lot of the names in the show (Evergreen Terrace, Rev. Lovejoy, Sideshow Bob Terwilliger, etc.) come from the Northwest. (Mostly street names in Portland, but there are other sources as well.)

  • ||

    Cesar

    IIRC, there was a special provision when California was admitted to allow it to break up into two states. There was some talk of this provision in the 1970's from hippies and environmentalists as a way of "saving" Northern California from Los Angeles.

  • EJM||

    The regional public-radio network there is actually called Jefferson Public Radio--whose site just happens to link to the "official" state site.

    (Personally, I'm waiting for Upper Michigan to break off and become the state of Superior.)

  • Ali||

    A part of one state seceding from another without the states permission is clearly unconstitutional IIRC.

    Why would it be? Which part of the constitution says that states can not be engendered from other states?

  • ||

    brother bears named Itchy and Scratchy

    Really? Really really?


    If anything, the cartoon would have pre-dated the events of 1941. It's already been proven in a court of law that Chester Lampwick invented Itchy in 1919. Roger Meyers Sr. established Itchy & Scratchy Studios in 1921 and the first Itchy & Scratchy cartoon ("Steamboat Itchy") debuted in 1928. My guess is that somebody in Yreka must have been a fan of I&S Studios and subsequently named the bears after the cat and mouse team.

  • ||

    Ali, from Article IV Sec. 3--

    New states may be admitted by the Congress into this union; but no new states shall be formed or erected within the jurisdiction of any other state; nor any state be formed by the junction of two or more states, or parts of states, without the consent of the legislatures of the states concerned as well as of the Congress.



    They got around this when West Virginia was made by counting the military government of Virginia as the "State government" during the War even though it basically encompassed nothing more than Fairfax County.

  • ||

    Forget Oregon being split into different states, California should be about a dozen separate states instead of the ungovernable monstrosity it is right now.

  • ||

    @ Cesar:

    Agreed.

  • some guy||

    I'm betting one of those states would be called New Vermont.

  • ||

    Forget Oregon being split into different states, California should be about a dozen separate states instead of the ungovernable monstrosity it is right now.

    I'd want to think about all those new Senators before I signed off on this.

  • ||

    I'd want to think about all those new Senators before I signed off on this.



    Republicans would have at least a good shot at getting seats in the LA-area and San Diego-area states I bet, from what I understand about California anyway.

    Maybe TWC or Mike Laursen could comment.

  • Puerto Rico||

    Ahem!

  • Jesse Walker||

    While it's fun to imagine that the two bears inspired the Simpsons staff, it's more likely that bears and violent cartoons alike were inspired by the fact that "itchy and scratchy" has been a common phrase in American English for ages.

  • Ali||

    Cesar- Oh, I see. I missed the "without the states" permission part in your original post. But technically they can secede if allowed.

  • ||

    If they get the states permission, and the permission of the Feds, then yeah.

  • LarryA||

    California should be about a dozen separate states instead of the ungovernable monstrosity it is right now.

    California's being ungovernable has nothing to do with it's size.

    If they get the states permission, and the permission of the Feds, then yeah.

    It would have to be two-by-two, one D and one R. Look how long Colorado statehood got held up.

    BTW, "Yreka."

    And then did a government agency resettle a bunch of geniuses into the area and...

    No, that's TV.

  • Straw Boob Warts||

    The best thing about Yreka is the non-existent Yreka Bakery.

    Also, there's no Ukiah haiku. I guess you could write some.

  • ||

    Nothin but pears and stoners in Ukiah.

  • Mike Laursens of the World||

    Maybe TWC or Mike Laursen could comment.

    You've got it right. Southern California is predominately conservative. Northern California is absolutely liberal. I grew up in the former, and have lived in the latter for the last seventeen years or so.

    Northern California also has all the water, by the way -- so, kiss our hairy hippy asses, conservatives! :-)

  • Mike Laursens of the World||

    California's being ungovernable has nothing to do with it's size.

    Well, it's got something to do with it. But, yeah, the biggest factor by far is that we have a lot of crazy people here.

  • ||

    It definietely has to have something to do with it. I can't imagine what a clusterfuck it would be to live in a state that spanned along the east coast from Virginia to Maine, which is roughly California's geographic and population size.

  • Mike Laursens of the World||

    Now, imagine that all budgeting and most policy decisions for each and every public school in that vast geographic region is administered from the central capitol. And the half of the state budget allocated to education is effectively controlled by the teachers union.

    Nah, don't imagine that. Imagine a nice bottle of Sonoma Valley wine and aspiring starlets rollerblading by in bikinis.

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