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Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.)


Political Science


The California of today is a union of complexities. It is a geographic giant composed of startling climatic and topographic variations. It is an economic elasticity satisfying the differing demands of agriculture, industry,and commerce. It is a social syncretism uniting a vast assortment of living patterns. With all of these diversities, California is a single, sovereign state.

Within the state, however, there are two obvious sections: Northern and Southern California.1 They are separated, theoretically, by the Tehachapi mountain range, which runs east and west, on a line with the city of Santa Barbara. So pronounced is this sectionalism that Carey McWilliams said of it, "While other states have an east-west or a north-south division, in no state in the Union is the schism as sharp as in California."2 Even more forceful is the comment by John Gunther, "California is . . . two states; the dividing line is the Tehachapi . . . ."3

The distinction between Northern and Southern California, although it is more highly developed, is not the only manifestation of sectionalism within the state. Other geographic areas have also developed varying degrees of sectionalism. The subsequent rivalry of two or more localities has frequently intensified to become a movement to divide California. William Henry Ellison,6 in his monograph "The Movement for State Division in California, 1849-1860," presents a thorough study of this problem during the first decade of California's statehood. It is the purpose of this study to record the proposals for political division form 1860-1952.

To understand the division attempts after 1860, it is appropriate to summarize the agitations prior to this period.





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