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.

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 those states have taken place.

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. The Pacific Jefferson was proposed in a 1941 petition to Washington, DC, which was pushed aside when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor later that year and diverted national attention to World War II.

If the proposal were ever approved, the new State's capital city would have to be determined by a constitutional convention. Yreka, California, was named the provisional capital in the original 1941 proposal, although Port Orford, Oregon, had also been up for consideration. Some supporters of the more recent revival have also identified Redding, California, as a potential capital, even though Redding is not included in all versions of the proposal and its own city council voted in 2013 to reject participation in the movement.

Jefferson in State of Jefferson[]

Jefferson was a state in the Pacific Northwest of the United States. It was the 49th state admitted to the Union. Jefferson was created in 1919 when several counties in northern California and southern Oregon seceded from their respective states after the notion of self-determination that was sweeping Europe had made its way west. The governments of California and Oregon were perfectly happy to let the counties go. Its capital was Yreka.[1]

Sasquatches were the first human species native to what is now the Pacific Northwest region, arriving thousands of years before Homo sapiens. They were possibly descended from Homo erectus, or perhaps Gigantopithecus. Sasquatches first encountered little people when the ancestors of the Native Americans arrived in the New World approximately ten thousand years ago. Early encounters were hostile, and both sides developed an antipathy that continued into modern times.[2]

When Jefferson was established, most of the USA's Sasquatch population was concentrated in the new state, and benefited from Jefferson's cultural openness and libertarian worldview. Jefferson's second governor Charlie "Bigfoot" Lewis, was a sasquatch. During his term, he made the most of the economic prosperity of the 1920s, which included building the Governor's Mansion in Yreka to fit his kind.[3] Similarly, the Capitol, built before the Great Depression, was an ornate building of columns, wings, and a gilded dome.[4]

Gilbert Gable served as the Governor of Jefferson from 1934 to 1941. Gable's primary focus was on his hometown, Port Orford. Thanks to Gable's efforts, and free use of various New Deal programs, the roads to Port Orford were paved, a railroad line went to Port Orford, and a breakwater was established, among other things. Jefferson State Highway 71 was known as the Gable Memorial Highway. He died a few days before the attack on Pearl Harbor. While Port Orford was something like a major city by Gable's death, Yreka was rather neglected. Indeed, even into the 1970s, Yreka was a comparatively sleepy town.[5]

In September 1942, Jefferson was subjected to the only attacks on the U.S. mainland during World War II when Nobuo Fujita, a pilot in the Imperial Japanese Navy, was able to drop incendiary bombs on two separate raids. On September 9, Fujita dropped bombs near Port Orford. The bombs set a ship on fire and burned down a warehouse. On September 29th, Fujita dropped bombs on Siskiyou National Forest. Likely due to rain, the bombs didn't start a fire. Indeed, no one in Jefferson even knew about the second attack until Fujita told the story in 1979.[6]

Jefferson elected its second sasquatch governor, Bill Williamson, in the 1970s. During his time as governor, Williamson did his best to insure that the state of Jefferson stayed open and diverse. In August 1979, Williamson was able to arrange a visit from the Yeti Lama of Tibet in Eureka. The visit was a largely symbolic one: one consequence of Richard Nixon's visit to China was that the State Department perceived the Yeti Lama as a mere tourist.[7] In September 1979, Williamson met with Nobuo Fujita, who, ironically, relocated to Port Orford in 1969 to run a Datsun dealership. Williamson used Fujita's story to emphasize the diversity of Jefferson, a place where people got along regardless of race and size, and where people who'd once been at war could live together in peace.[8] In 1980, Williamson was able to convince the State Legislature to authorize a new annual grant of $75,000 a year to the Ashland Shakespeare Festival.[9]

An area of the Pacific Ocean off the Jefferson coast was home to merfolk. Governor Williamson helped end a conflict between the merfolk and the Karuk over fishing rights in the Klamath River in mid-1980[10] In November, 1980, Greg Donovan of Grants Pass discovered a sample of the legendary speartooth salmon, an off-shoot species of the long extinct Oncorhynchus rastrosus.[11] In February, 1981, Williamson continued his state's tradition of unity by participating in an informal diplomatic luncheon with at the invitation of Asianto Supandy, who was acting on behalf of the government of Indonesia. Also present was Sasquatch Mark Gordon, who'd been held hostage in Iran.[12]

Known Governors of Jefferson[]

  • Nophoto.jpg

Charlie "Bigfoot" Lewis, the second Governor, in office for much of the 1920s.

  • Gable.jpg

Gilbert Gable, in office 1934-1941.

  • BillWilliamson.jpg

Bill Williamson, in office 1979-incumbent in 1981.

Literary comment[]

In OTL, the borders of this hypothetical state have varied considerably between proposals. Harry Turtledove has not yet defined the borders of his version.

See Also[]

  • Alaska, the 49th state admitted to the United States in OTL.
  • Colorado, the 38th state admitted to the United States in OTL. Some early proposals for its statehood used the name Jefferson.
  • Houston (State), a fictional U.S. state in Southern Victory, carved out of western Texas. Its borders are similar to another proposed "State of Jefferson" in OTL.