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April 7, 2010 9:08 AM   Subscribe

NPR looks at American States That Might Have Been You've probably heard of the proposed Mormon state of Deseret, but have you heard of Nickajack? What about Absaroka, the 49th state? I bet you forgot about Forgottonia. The author of Lost States has a blog.
posted by desjardins (33 comments total) 23 users marked this as a favorite

 
See also.
posted by craven_morhead at 9:14 AM on April 7, 2010


Interesting. This has Sarah Vowell's fingerprints all over it but her signature is nowhere.
posted by The White Hat at 9:16 AM on April 7, 2010


Reminds me of John Hodgman's "Areas of My Expertise" (a delight btw), except I suppose that these are real.
posted by grobstein at 9:17 AM on April 7, 2010


The most interesting of which, would have been Sequoia.
posted by asfuller at 9:18 AM on April 7, 2010


Or we could just put everyone in Brooklyn.
posted by swift at 9:20 AM on April 7, 2010 [2 favorites]


I loved that Daniel Boone wanted the state that became Kentucky to be called Transylvania.
posted by lukemeister at 9:20 AM on April 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


Nickajack and the Free State of Winston have always made me proud to be an Alabaman.
posted by jefficator at 9:23 AM on April 7, 2010


I'd like to see a hypothetical map if the premise behind the state of Nickajack were enacted in the Viet Nam era, or in the present day:
Nickajack was the name of a proposed neutral state of Unionist areas of North Alabama and East Tennessee. In the period leading up to the American Civil War there was much talk of secession made by the politicians representing wealthy plantation owners in the Black Belt. Hill country residents were typically poor dirt-farmers and rarely slave-owners. They considered the war that would inevitably follow secession to be "a war for the rich, fought by the poor," and wished to have nothing to do with it.
Emphasis mine.
posted by filthy light thief at 9:37 AM on April 7, 2010 [4 favorites]


Once upon a time I made myself a "State of Franklin" driver's license. I used it once to buy beer in Mississippi.
(I also carry a Miskatonic University library card around with me and use it to get student discounts. This may or may not be relevant to the topic at hand.)
posted by 1f2frfbf at 9:52 AM on April 7, 2010 [6 favorites]


The entire western half of the Mormon empire was sliced off to form Nevada, establishing one of the oddest geographical juxtapositions in the United States.

And that's how we got The Killers.
posted by acb at 9:53 AM on April 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


Don't forget about the State of Sequoyah.
posted by wierdo at 10:15 AM on April 7, 2010


Back when my dad was county executive of Franklin County, TN, he told me about this. Tennessee wouldn't secede fast enough so the county went ahead and tried to secede from Tennessee. The area is near Nickajack - parts of it are still very backwoods.

Here is the actual resolution for the secession of Franklin County.

The best part is, the morons never resolved to return to the Union, so my dad was for a brief time the ultimate supreme leader of the sovereign nation of Nickajack. It still exists in the hills, small pockets of redneck resistance - they make their own laws and moonshine, socially mired in the late 1800s. Not kidding, unfortunately.

My dad always joked about offering up a resolution to return to the Union, but the sad part is, it would still be political suicide. At least it was nice to be above the law for a little while - if Khamenei has half as much fun as we did...
posted by infinitefloatingbrains at 10:28 AM on April 7, 2010 [2 favorites]


This is really the only time I would ever have the opportunity to mention that late one night, I was in a tour van, and when passing Nickajack Lake, we began spontaneously singing "I'm bringing Nickajack / them other boys don't know how to act". (Look, it was late, and a long tour, okay?)

I like to believe that in some alternate Earth, it is the state song.
posted by Benjamin Nushmutt at 10:29 AM on April 7, 2010 [3 favorites]


This was on the History Channel last night, btw.
posted by Thorzdad at 10:39 AM on April 7, 2010


If anything, the US needs fewer states, not more. The fracturing of the national identity and national goals has probably been harmful to the country, IMO.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:44 AM on April 7, 2010


When I saw the post I immediately thought of Transylvania. As an alum of Transylvania University, I was happy that that was the featured image in the article. I'll have to check out the NPR story in further detail. I believe the biography of Daniel Boone by John Faragher has more information on the movers and shakers behind the Transylvania colony and if I am remembering correctly, some of those folks helped found the original Transylvania school, which was the first college west of the Alleghenies.
posted by Slothrop at 10:46 AM on April 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


Jefferson had a plan for the Western Territory c. 1784 (between the Mississippi and Appalachians, roughly). Sylvania, Michigania, Cherronesus, Assenisipia, Metropotamia, Illinoia, Saratoga, Washington, Polypotamia, Pelisipia.

Which just goes to show you that there is a downside to classically educated leaders.
posted by Zed at 11:07 AM on April 7, 2010 [3 favorites]


Please stop the Assenisipiahattery.
posted by lukemeister at 11:17 AM on April 7, 2010


I'm still waiting for the fair state of Begonia, to whence I may send those who displease me.
posted by yeloson at 11:43 AM on April 7, 2010


The 51st State of Jefferson.
posted by Danf at 11:50 AM on April 7, 2010


The fracturing of the national identity and national goals

You say that like there was a unified national identity and/or goal to begin with.
posted by ArgentCorvid at 12:47 PM on April 7, 2010


If anything, the US needs fewer states, not more. The fracturing of the national identity and national goals has probably been harmful to the country, IMO.

What national identity? Many countries like France, England, Japan, etc. have long histories and relatively separate cultures that serve as a national identity. America has a homogenized sort of bland identity due not only to our history of immigration, but also our structure. America is a Federation of 50 different states.

You don't see anyone in Europe saying that French or German identity is harmful to the EU, so why should my being proud to be from MA, or someone else being proud to be from Texas be considered harmful?
posted by explosion at 1:11 PM on April 7, 2010 [2 favorites]


five fresh fish wrote: "If anything, the US needs fewer states, not more."

I agree that given the way things are, more states are useless. States are essentially useless pieces of government. As they are meant to be, mostly autonomous, we ought to have more states. More different ways of doing things. There's something to be said for the old days when there were very few federal criminal laws.

We would need to retain much of the federal structure, though. It would be unwise to have 50 different versions of the FCC, and the federal government needs to have a big stick in hand to help prevent a return to wholesale discrimination in the more backwoods places.
posted by wierdo at 2:08 PM on April 7, 2010


Whatever the state, they all have the same lousy Smarch weather.
posted by Smedleyman at 2:25 PM on April 7, 2010


Can't say anything about US states, but there are times when I've wished that my province of Alberta was split in two. It would have made things so much simpler today if Calgary had become the capital of Southern Alberta and Edmonton capital of the North. Never going to happen now, though.
posted by Kevin Street at 2:37 PM on April 7, 2010


fairly extensive article on wikipedia on the 51st state
posted by knockoutking at 4:22 PM on April 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


and another good list of "unrecognized or self declared entities" again per wiki
posted by knockoutking at 4:28 PM on April 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


This has Sarah Vowell's fingerprints all over it but her signature is nowhere.

I guess I'll just have to wait for her to show up on the Daily Show again and delight the hell out of me to know for sure. Although I was doing that anyway, so.
posted by Uppity Pigeon #2 at 4:37 PM on April 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


You say that like there was a unified national identity and/or goal to begin with.

Maybe that's part of the problem, then. Pretty hard to pull together as a nation if every state has its own looney ideas as to where the country should be going.
posted by five fresh fish at 4:47 PM on April 7, 2010


No love for Moosylvania?
posted by phliar at 5:00 PM on April 7, 2010 [2 favorites]


And then there's Wikipedia's list of fictional countries.
posted by lukemeister at 8:08 PM on April 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


N*ck*j*ck
posted by Evilspork at 5:21 AM on April 8, 2010


I agree that given the way things are, more states are useless. States are essentially useless pieces of government. As they are meant to be, mostly autonomous, we ought to have more states. More different ways of doing things.

Not just more states, but states oriented around some kind of economic / geographic / cultural centre. The reason that people in upstate NY or downstate IL or outstate MI or northern CA* are always complaining about their state governments is that they have more in common with people in neighbouring states than they do with their fellow state-residents... in which case, why are they in that state?

Of course, you'll always have those upstanding citizens who are trying to minimise their responsibility to others by living in jurisdictions where poor people are excluded or invisible... but that anyway happens now at the local level.

*disclaimer: i've never lived in NY or CA. ymmv.
posted by tivalasvegas at 10:15 AM on April 8, 2010


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