This November, Californians will be asked if they want to split their state into three, a measure spearheaded by venture capitalist Tim Draper. I wrote about some of the problems Draper’s borders present, in historical-cultural terms, over at Medium last month.
But this week, I got to talk about an entirely different aspect of historical background on KQED’s statewide “California Report”: the lessons and precedents set by Maine’s split from Massachusetts in 1820.
Readers of The Lobster Coast are aware of the two entities were separate colonies back in the 1640s, when the English Civil War pit Royalist, Anglican, semi-feudal, West Country-dominated Maine against Puritan, Parliament-backing, East Anglia-settled Massachusetts. The execution of the King cleared the way for Boston to annex the Maine settlements, which they ruled as a colony — the District of Maine — for nearly 70 years. The War of 1812 — when Massachusetts refused to defend eastern Maine or help the federal government rollback the British occupation of it — was just the final blow to Commonwealth unity.