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States That Never Were (from “The Thicket” Blog)

Originally published by Karl Kurtz on The Thicket blog
from the National Conference of State Legislatures

1261172036Lost_loresPart 1 (April 12)
Some people have fanciful notions about renaming the states to suit their own desires. Others report the interesting history of past efforts to create new American states.

Virginia Senate Clerk Susan Schaar responded to my previous post–about a novel in which the protagonist seeks to rename the 50 states–by calling attention to an NPR story about a new book, Lost States: True Stories of Texlahoma, Transylvania, and Other States That Never Made It by Michael J. Trinklein. States that were proposed at some point in American history and are covered in the NPR interview include Texlahoma (northern Texas and the Oklahoma Panhandle), Sylvania (Thomas Jefferson’s name for an area encompassing Michigan’s Upper Peninsula and parts of northern Wisconsin and Minnesota), Transylvania (Daniel Boone’s name for most of what is today Kentucky), Acadia (northern Maine), and Forgotonia (six counties in the western bulge of Illinois that feel politically ignored).

An excerpt from the book on the NPR website reports on proposals for the states of Deseret (Brigham Young’s idea for a super-sized state that would have covered all of Utah, most of Nevada and Arizona, and parts of California, New Mexico and Idaho), Long Island (which is bigger than Rhode Island), and Lost Dakota (the author’s name for a small piece of Dakota Territory that was left out when the states of Montana, Wyoming and Idaho were carved out).

Part 2 (April 19)
Michael J. Trinklein, the author of a book about failed proposals for new American states that generated our previous post, “States that Never Were,” has an interesting and amusing new article, “Altered States,” on the same subject in the Wall Street Journal today. Here’s how it begins:

Long Island’s latest quest to split from New York and become its own state had a promising start last year. Legislators in Suffolk county, upset over a new payroll tax to fund New York City’s subways, voted 12-6 in favor of a secession plan. It seemed viable: In terms of square miles, Long Island is bigger than Rhode Island; its gross state product would be larger than that of 20 states. Some optimists even proposed a state bird: the duck.

Objections from the rest of New York effectively killed the idea, but attempts to make Long Island a state will almost certainly return. The proposal was just the most recent in a series of statehood crusades, usually arising from complaints of unfair taxation. During a campaign in the 1890s, one proponent—Long Island sugar magnate Adolph Mollenhauer—said, “We’re tired of bosses and bossism.” His quote could be the rallying cry of any number of secessionist movements.

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Profile Photo Amanda Blount

Very interesting indeed. The people of The Great State of Long Island should not lose hope, ask the people of West Virginia how they must have felt many years ago. BTW – East NC people have very little in common with West NC folks, so I think I will start my own revolution. :-) Our new State could be called Caratlantic. :-) Pronounced Car (like Care) and Atlantlic = The State of Caratlantic.

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