Elusive State of Jefferson

A Journey Through The 51St State

Book Description

By 1941, a nascent statehood movement began to coalesce into an active and explicit secession campaign seeking to carve from Northern California and Southern Oregon a new State of Jefferson. Yreka, California, home of the secession movement, was named the temporary state capital. Local proponents, Members of the State of Jefferson Citizens Committee, began to stop traffic along Highway 99 at armed roadblocks to pass out political broadsides – their Proclamation of Independence. And, in December of that year, Judge John Childs of Crescent City, California, was elected the first Governor of the State of Jefferson.
The United States’ entry into World War II just days later interrupted this growing movement. News of the bombing of Pearl Harbor replaced the planned coverage of Child’s election and overshadowed Jeffersonians perceived marginalization with a national sense of unity. But today what often is referred to as the mythical State of Jefferson remains as both an emblem of the north counties’ frustrations and as a cultural signifier that differentiates the region from the rest of California and the nation.
Through interviews with residents and travels through the region, Laufer reveals the story of what could have been and the identity of the region that remains even more than sixty years after the apex of the movement.

About Laufer, Peter

Peter Laufer, P.h.D., is the author of more than a dozen books that deal with social and political issues, including Mission Rejected: U.S. Soldiers Who Say No to Iraq, Wetback Nation: The Case for Opening the Mexican-American Border, and Iron Curtain Rising: A Personal Journey through the Changing Landscape of Eastern Europe. He is the coanchor of The Peter Laufer Show on radio station Green 960 in San Francisco. More about his books, documentary films, and broadcasts, which have won the George Polk, Robert F. Kennedy, Edward R. Murrow, and other awards, can be found at peterlaufer.com.