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State of Jefferson (U.S.)

Last modified: 2003-09-27 by
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Flag Bulletin 150 [vol. xxxiii:1; Jan/Feb 1993] had an article on the flag of The State of Jefferson [pp. 22-30]. Apparently, the locals thought they were "double-crossed" by the state authorities (I think it was to do with highways not being built in their area), hence the two saltires in their symbol. They first declared their "statehood" in November or early December 1941. After Pearl Harbor, they decided there were other things to worry about and that they had made their point with their protests.

Traveling through the area in 1999, I saw several signs and bumper stickers proclaiming "State of Jefferson." Their website includes their flag, with the typical Gold Seal on Blue Bedsheet, and the history of their "secession".
Dean McGee, 9 October 2002

The "Republic of Jefferson" was an American state that existed for about 10 months in 1941. Essentially, northern counties in California, and southern counties in Oregon felt betrayed and abandoned by their respective state governments, so they seceded from their states, but *not* the union, and formed their own state, which they called "The Republic of Jefferson."

This kind of thing has been tried before (The State of Franklin, from 1783-1787 springs to mind) and it's expressly forbidden by the constitution *unless* all states which are a party to it, *and* congress agree to allow the subdivision, in which case it's ok. California and Oregon were opposed to it, but were dumbfounded, and congress flatly refused to get involved. It was the biggest story of 1941... until the 1st week of december, of course.

WWII killed the "Jefferson" movement (It seemed pitiful and disloyal, in retrospect), but the fact remains that for nearly a year, the region was completely self-governed with no input from outside.

Randy Schanze, 13 February 2003

An earlier attempt, in the late 1850's prior to the American Civil War, was made to split California into two sections. The Southern part, filled with pro-South residents due to migration patterns before the war, were to become the Republic of the Pacific.

This even made it to Congress, where the decision was voted down. With the coming of the Civil War, pro-South groups in Southern California were hoisting the "bear" flag, which had dated to the 1840's. I would suspect that had the Republic of the Pacific come to pass that the bear flag might well have been its banner.

Greg Biggs, 26 March 2003

Flags of Jefferson

I add that the state of Jefferson, during its brief existence, never got around to a flag. They did adopt a "seal". Actually the "seal" was more of an artifact, being an actual miner's pan, painted gold, with the double cross on the bottom, and the legend - "THE GREAT SEAL - STATE of JEFFERSON", painted around the upraised rim. It still survives.

Regarding the flags;

[Flag of the State of Jefferson] by Dean Dierschow, 30 July 2003

The first one was researched and produced by the, now defunct, Dettra Flag company, based on actual photographs of the miner's pan, and predates the other one by at least a decade. Here the attempt was to reproduce the pan as accurately as possible.

[Flag of the State of Jefferson] by Dean Dierschow, 30 July 2003

The second one is based on a line drawing of the seal. Note the lettering differs significantly from the actual miner's pan.

Interestingly, both share the green background. The point is moot, however, since Jefferson is essentially a state of mind, and nothing stops an entrepreneur from crafting a flag and calling it what he wants.

Jim Ferrigan, 30 July 2003