2. History of Proposals to Divide California

    Proposals to divide California into more than one state date back to before California was admitted to the Union in 1850.  In the first 150 years of statehood, there have been 27 serious proposals to split the state.  It is an idea that has staying power!
    From 1850 to 1860, the issue was constantly before the public, the legislature, and Congress.  While abolitionists and pro-slavery advocates in the East tried to capture or disparage proposals,  most Southern Californians thought the state should be divided up for many less controversial local reasons relating to taxation and common interests.  In 1859, the Legislature put matter to the voters in Southern California and a whopping 75% said create a separate state.  Unfortunately, the Civil War distracted the folks in Washington.  For an interesting and detailed review of the issue during the State's first 12 years, click here.
     Since the Civil War, the issue has been discussed seriously by the Legislature at least once every two decades.
    One of the more amusing, but serious, movements began during 1940 when parts of Southern Oregon and Northern California decided to form the State of Jefferson.  Again, another war, World War II, distracted everyone. For details, click here.
    The most recent proposal occurred in the early 1990's. The original proposal was to create two states - one from the counties in the northern part of California that closely identified with the issues brought up by the Jefferson proposal and the other including all the rest of California.  After some debate, the proposal switched to the creation of three states and it passed the Assembly! Several counties put the matter on the ballot in June of 1992.  To read about this effort, click here.
   This web site continues this long history of advocacy for dividing California.