Jefferson, copper, and Hitler

The curious thing about most of the statehood proposals I researched is that very few seemed to produce actual maps. That is, proponents would describe their statehood idea, but did not usually offer a map of the new state. Jefferson was an interesting exception. This statehood idea--proposed in 1941--would have included northern California and southern Oregon. Nearly all the press reports included a map like the one above (from the Gastonia Daily Gazette). The map is interesting for a couple reasons. First, it doesn't give viewers much context. Given that this is from a local paper in North Carolina, you'd think it would give readers a wider "you-are-there" perspective. I can only guess that back in 1941, it was assumed that newspaper readers knew where California and Oregon actually were. Today, I'm not so sure.  Second, the map highlights copper deposits; and the accompanying article mentions copper as the key to the proposed state's economy. My how things have changed--when's the last time you used a phone with a copper wire? (You know, the phones that attach to a wall.)  And speaking of how times have changed, I can't help but note the comments of Superior Judge Coleman of neighboring Jackson County, Oregon. He was against the Jefferson idea, and thought it should be stopped immediately before the proposal had a chance to grow. Here is his quote: "We must not make the mistake of laughing off this government as a silly stunt. Don't forget that Adolf Hitler started in a small way too." Yikes! Evoking Hitler? Really?

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