January 22, 2017 · Calexit Motion, California

While Californians have voiced concerns of seceding from the USA, with a motion to send it to the state attorney general in hopes of voting for it in 2018, California is already home to one city that seceded from the Union.


Rough and Ready, California, is a small town 62 miles north of Sacramento. As is true of many Californian towns, Rough and Ready was founded by gold prospectors. The group of founding miners known as the “Rough and Ready Company,” in honor of their leader’s nickname, Captain A.A. Townsend, decided to expand their trademark to the very name of their mining town. In the heyday of the gold rush, Rough and Ready was a viable mining spot; one account mentioned the discovery of an 18 pound nugget of gold. Things changed for the town in 1850, when California taxed all mine claims.


Rough and Ready responded to taxation by seceding, mere months before California joined the United States. The nation also founded a Constitution that was almost verbatim to the United States Constitution but added descriptions of Rough and Ready’s borders, accounting for more than 200 square miles.


The town remained its own country until the Fourth of July. The town populace, having grown used to the celebrations associated with American independence and being refused alcohols for being “foreigners” to surrounding bars, held an emergency meeting to rejoin the Union. A recent discovery by the post office, after World War II, revealed that the town had never formally rejoined.


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