The Republic of the Cascades (also known as Cascadia) is a newly independent country located within the western region of North America. Derived from the bioregion it occupies, Cascadia consists most of the western halves of the former American states of Washington and Oregon. Initially proposed boundaries differed, however it was opted to adopt existing political boundaries as the easiest way to preserve ecological, cultural, and economic ties.
The nation was formed during the United States Constitutional Crisis of 2017, wherein several states established greater autonomy from the United States Federal Government. Throughout the crisis, the state governments of Washington and Oregon organized extensive cooperation operations designed to meld the two states and form a new entity. It was not until other states decided to leave the union did Washington and Oregon. However, eastern, more conservative, counties opted not to join the secession and combine themselves.
Cascadia, as a legal country, declared independence on December 31, 2018 after adopting its constitution approximately two weeks earlier. Their first 2019 Cascadian general election were formally held on January 10, 2019.
The official name for Cascadia is The Incorporated States of the Republic of the Cascades, otherwise known as the Republic of the Cascades, or simply Cascadia. "Incorporated States" was eventually added to the name as not all areas considered traditionally in Cascadia participated in the founding of the new country.
Cascadia as a name itself comes from the bioregion. The concept of Cascadian bioregionalism is closely identified with the environmental movement. In the early 1970s, the contemporary vision of bioregionalism began to be formed through collaboration between natural scientists, social and environmental activists, artists and writers, community leaders, and back-to-the-landers who worked directly with natural resources.
A bioregion is defined in terms of the unique overall pattern of natural characteristics that are found in a specific place. The main features are generally obvious throughout a continuous geographic terrain and include a particular climate, local aspects of seasons, landforms, watersheds, soils, and native plants and animals. People are also counted as an integral aspect of a locale’s life, as can be seen in the ecologically adaptive cultures of early inhabitants, and in the activities of present day reinhabitants who attempt to harmonize in a sustainable way with the place where they live.
Cascadian bioregionalism deals with the connected ecological, environmental, economic, and cultural ties that are prevalent throughout the U.S. Pacific Northwest and distance the area from their eastern counterparts. The argument is that those in Washington and Oregon in the United States have much more in common with those in British Columbia, Canada, than those in Washington D.C.
The bioregional boundaries of Cascadia are typically considered to compass the majorities of British Columbia, the former American states of Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and parts of Alaska, Montana, and California.
Oregon Country and Columbia District An 1813 letter from Thomas Jefferson to John Jacob Astor on the establishment of Fort Astoria (now Astoria, Clatsop County), the former president described the area as "the germ of a great, free, and independent empire on that side of our continent, and that liberty and self-government spreading from that as well as from this side, will insure their complete establishment over the whole".
John Quincy Adams agrees with Jefferson's views about Fort Astoria and the growing influence of Oregon Country. Even as late as the 1820s, other presidents like James Monroe thought of the region west of the Rockies would be an independent nation.
Elements among the region's colonist population in the 1840s began to explore establishing their own country. John Mcloughlin, a regional administrator for the Hudson's Bay Company in Oregon, was a significant force arguing for independence. He won over a major political forum at the time, the Oregon Lyceum, in passing a resolution calling for independence. Throughout the 1840s, laws and even a provisional government were organized championing independence.
This soon dissolved into leaderless dismay as in 1860, three different statements from separate influential individuals called for variant forms of a "Pacific Republic" in Oregon Country.
When the Southern states of the U.S. seceded to form the Confederate States of America, some Oregon Territory settlers reacted to the instability of the union as another opportunity to seek independence.
Serious independence movements during this time failed to take root, never surpassing their peak in the 1840s during heightened tensions with Great Britain. However, the Pacific Northwest continued to foment a radical and aggressive form of regionalism, and became an outpost for progressivism.
What became clear to independence organizers, however, is that secession was possible and even possibly sustainable if war could be avoided.
State of JeffersonEdit
While not encompassing what had been traditionally considered to be Cascadia, the State of Jefferson movement emerged in the 1930s and early 1940s. Located in southern Oregon and northern California, the movement originally found inspiration out of other secessionist movements in the region during the mid-19th century.
During 1940 and 1941, organizers for the State of Jefferson received media attention by arming themselves and blockading a section of U.S. Highway 99, just south of Yreka, California. They collected tolls from motorists and passed out proclamations of independence.
Overall, the movement was created to draw attention to the area by proposing that the State of Jefferson by formed as a separate state in the United States – away from California and Oregon. In response to a perceived lack of attention and resources from their respective state governments was inherently different than the movements 75 years prior calling for full independence.
Organizers for the State of Jefferson faced considerable difficulty following the entry into World War II by the United States after the Attacks on Pearl Harbor. They soon folded in 1942, only to resurface again briefly in 1956 again due to lack of state government attention to the area.
Ecotopia and CascadiaNow!Edit
Ernest's Callenbach's environmental Utopian novel Ecotopia (1975) follows an American reporter on his tour through a secretive nation (the former Washington, Oregon, and northern California). This occurs 20 years after their secession from the United States.
Throughout the late-1970s and 1980s, a newfound sense of environmentalism and progressivism characterized the Pacific Northwest as unique. With burgeoning creative movements coming in the late-1980s and 1990s, like with grunge rock, the region developed a unique sense of culture and belonging.
On September 9th, 2001 the Cascade National Party website was launched with the goal of organizing a formal political party dedicated to the independence of Oregon, Washington, and British Columbia.
They faltered quickly, however resurgent attempts at true political organizing occurred again in 2006 and 2013. Among the outcomes of the resurgence in interest was CascadiaNow!. A non-profit organization founded in 2006, it was the largest group of people based around the ideas of Cascadia.
CascadiaNow! did not actively support secession or any form of political organizing, but instead focused on Cascadia as an inclusive progressive social and culture movement. Its goal was to raise awareness about Cascadia, and help make a positive impact in the Pacific Northwest by building a vibrant bioregional community.
In 2013, some organizers from CascadiaNow! joined a fledgling Cascadia Independence Party in an another attempt at formal political organizing. They convened primarily through social media platforms but failed to persuade more influential bioregional organizations, like Slightline Institute, Crosscut, and CascadiaNow! to adopt a more secessionist stance.
Crisis and IndependenceEdit
2017 Constitutional CrisisEdit
Constitutional crisis erupted in the United States following the awarding of the 2016 Presidential Election to Marco Rubio and his running mate, Scott Walker by the House of Representatives. The independent candidacy of Donald Trump and Ted Cruz split Republican votes, and caused for no candidate to receive the 270 votes from the Electoral College that is needed to win the Presidency.
Per the Twelfth Amendment to the United States Constitution, the election was decided by the House of Representatives. Due to gerrymandering following the 2010 Census, the Republican Party retained their majority in the House of Representatives despite losing the popular vote for a third time in-a-row. Not wanting to go against partisan loyalty, the House voted to award the election to the Rubio/Walker campaign even though their Democratic opponents won the most electoral votes and the popular vote.
Seen by many observers as an epoch of American political corruption, many states governments – primarily Democratic ones – felt that the new administration could not be recognized as legitimate and sought ways to assume autonomy to prevent any possible conservative agenda from being implemented.
Democrats in Washington and Oregon deepened control in their legislatures and bolstered the number of progressives that came into office. The movement leftwards in the election came from policy points from progressive icons like Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, and local activist and Seattle City Councilmember Kashama Sewant.
The rebuke of electoral mandate by the Republican Party (and subsequent upholding by the Supreme Court in January 2017) raised the call for autonomy resolutions in state legislatures. This was due to fear that conservative policies would reverse economic and social progress that developed during the Obama Administration. Similarly, far-right elements of the Republican Party faced a backlash towards what was seen as establishment corruption.
In August 2017, Oregon and Washington signed the Northwest Cooperation Act, forming the first steps towards creating an independent state. The Act was primarily focused on consolidating and unifying government functions across the two states for eventual secession.
Independence was declared on December 31, 2018 after forming the country's first constitution and scheduling of first elections that next month. Carson Nichols, former Governor of Washington, was elected the first President of the Cascades while Kate Brown, former Governor of Oregon, was elected Vice-President of the Cascades.
Washington and Oregon were the north-western most states of the contiguous United States before forming Cascadia. Its northern border lies mostly along the 49th parallel, and then via marine boundaries through the upper Puget Sound near the San Juan Islands.
Cutting through the middle of the country, the Columbia River used to serve as a political boundary between Oregon and Washington. It serves as a hub of economic activity and hosts numerous dams for electricity.Washington and Oregon were the north-western most states of the contiguous United States before forming Cascadia. Its northern border lies mostly along the 49th parallel, and then via marine boundaries through the upper Puget Sound near the San Juan Islands.
To the south, the boundary that was established between Oregon and California were maintained post-idependence.
To the east, Cascadia borders the Cascade Range for the most part. This acts as a natural boundary as climate (and political attitudes) differ greatly east of the mountains. The Cascade Range contains several volcanoes, which reach altitudes significantly higher than the rest of the mountains. From north-to-south these volcanoes include Mount Baker, Mount Rainier, Mount Saint Helens, and Mount Adams. Mount Rainier is the tallest in the country, at 14,411 feet (4,392 meters).
The Olympic Peninsula is home to the Olympic Mountains, which supports dense forests of conifers and areas of temperate rainforest. These deep forests are among the only temperate rainforests in the continental former United States.
Cascadia's climate is mainly considered a "coastal marine climate", characterized by temperate seasons, rain, and limited snowfall. Major factors determining Cascadia's climate include large semi-permanent high pressure and low pressure systems of the North Pacific Ocean, the continental air masses of North America, and the Olympic and Cascade mountains.
In the spring and summer, a high pressure system dominates the North Pacific Ocean causing prevailing winds from the northwest bringing relatively cool air and a predictably dry season.
In the autumn and winter, a low pressure system takes over in the North Pacific, causing winds come from the southwest. With it brings warm and mouse air and a predictably wet season.
Forests cover a significant portion of Cascadia, mostly west of the North Cascades. The vast majority of these lands are publicly owned; almost all transferred from the United States Government. Common trees and plants in the region are camassia, Douglas fir, hemlock, penstemon, ponderosa pine, western red cedar, and species of ferns.
Cascadia's various areas of wilderness offer sanctuary, with substantially large populations of shorebirds and marine mammals. Other mammals native to Cascadia include the bat, black bear, bobcat, cougar, coyote, deer, elk, gray wolf, moose, mountain beaver, muskrat, opossum, gopher, raccoon, river otter, skunk, and tree squirrel.
There are a variety of national parks in Cascadia, among them were mostly former national parks under the jurisdiction of the United States. These are the San Juans National Wildlife Refuge, Olympic National Park, North Cascades National Park, Mount Rainier National Park, and Crater Lake National Park. Additionally, there are hundreds of state parks and portions of national forests. Due to agreed-upon boundaries, significant portions of former United States National Forests are shared with neighbors.
The United States Census bureau estimates that the current areas claimed by Cascadia would have a population of 8,055,956 people as of January 1, 2018.
Over the previous thirty years, Cascadia has seen dramatic changes in racial composition. In 1980, the United States Census Bureau reported Washington and Oregon's non-Hispanic white population was 92%. In 2016, 53.6% of infants under the age of one were non-white minorities.
According to 2018 estimates by the United States Census Bureau, the largest metropolitan area in Cascadia is Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue. Over 4,000,000 people live in this metro area, constituting a significant portion of the country's population. This also makes this area the center for economic and political progress in the country.
Race and Religion
According to 2018 U.S. Census Bureau estimates, the racial and ethnic composition of Cascadia was the following:
Latino or Hispanic: 13.22%
Black or African-American: 5.6%
Two or more races: 5.3%
Native Americans: 0.9%
Pacific Islander: 0.3%
The Hispanic/Latino populations can belong to any of the racial groups and consists of people of mainly Mexican, Spanish, Cuban, Salvadoran, Guatemalan, and Colombian heritage.
While the population of African-American in the Pacific Northwest is scarce overall, most of the concentration is seen in urban areas of Seattle, Portland, and Tacoma. The black community of the Northwest developed primarily after World War II when wartime industries and the U.S. Armed Forces employed and recruited tens of thousands of African-Americans from the Southeastern United States. They left a high influence in west coast rock music, R&B, and soul in the 1960s.
Native American populations live mostly on reservations or other jurisdictionally lands. The westernmost and Pacific coasts have primarily Native American communities, such as the Chinook, Lummi, and Salish. But Urban Indian communities formed by the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs relocation programs in metropolitan areas brought a variety of cultures into the cities.
Asian-Americans and Pacific Islanders are mostly concentrated in urban areas, and mostly in the Seattle-Tacoma metropolitan area. There are sizable Taiwanese, Indian, and Japanese communities in Cascadian cities where some populations date back to the 1850s. Suburban cities are where Koreans are heavily concentrated, whereas Cambodians have a large community in Tacoma.
As with many other Western American regions, the percentage of Cascadia's population identifying themselves as "non-religious" would be considered the highest in the United States at 37%. Otherwise, Protestantism emerges as the largest religious affiliation at 43% and Catholicism in third with 14%.
Cascadia's constitution borrows heavily from the state constitutions of Washington and Oregon as well as the United States Constitution. It is a constitutional republic and representative democracy, "in which majority rule is tempered by minority rights protected by law". The government is regulated by a system of checks and balances defined by the Cascadian Constitution, which serves as the country's supreme legal document. According to the Democracy Index, Cascadia would rank 12 in the world.
Image The Seattle Municipal Building, the capitol of the Republic of the Cascades Modeling the American federalist system, citizens are usually subject to three levels of government: national, county, and local. Local governments are typically considered to be cities and towns. Prior to independence, a plurality cote of citizens would render election winners whereas under the Cascadian Constitution, an absolute majority must be attained through a series of runoff elections.
As with the American system of government, no proportional representation was established at the national level.
The national government is composed of three branches:
• Legislative: The unicameral National Assembly makes national law, declares war, approves treaties, determines appropriations, and has the power of impeachment. • Executive: The President is the commander-in-chief of the military, can veto legislative bills before they become law (subject to override by the National Assembly), and appoints members of the Cabinet and heads of government agencies (subject to approval from the National Assembly). • Judicial: The Supreme Court and lower national courts, whose judges are appointed by the President with National Assembly approval, interpret laws and overturn those they find unconstitutional.
The National Assembly consists of 228 total delegates: • 2 representatives are elected from every county for a total of 70 from 35 counties. Senators are elected to four-year terms and may be elected to three consecutive terms. The Chancellor of the Senate is the leader of the chamber and decides committee leadership and composition, stewards bills through the chamber, and coordinates the Senate's schedule.
• 2 representatives are elected from every legislative district for a total of 158 from 79 districts. Members of the House are elected to two-year terms and may be elected to four consecutive terms.
The President serves a four-year term and may be elected three times. Unlike the United States however, Cascadia chose to elects its President by means of direct popular vote. As with other levels of government, the Presidency is only won with absolute majority with possible runoffs. This was in reaction to the Constitutional Crisis of 2017 wherein the president chosen lost the popular vote, was chosen by an in-direct process, and had no means of resolving absolute majorities by means of runoff.
To model a federal system, the existing county boundaries were preserved to make continuity easier on local governments and laws. The power and influence of the county did not grow substantially post-Independence. Since Cascadia is many magnitudes more local than the American Federal Government, most functions that were administered by the U.S. Federal Government and the State are now performed by the Cascadian national government.
Cascadia also elevated the recognition of tribal sovereignty, giving them to option to participate in government or to form their own sovereign leadership. Most opted to participate in Cascadia while the largest tribe west of the Cascades, the Quinault, opting to administer greater autonomy over their jurisdiction.
Cascadia separated mostly on basis of political division. Eastern Washington and Oregon were conservative-strong areas whereas the more densely populated western halves were decidedly more liberal. In 2004, the Likert scale determined that Oregon was one of the most politically polarized states in America.
During Cascadia's combined history, it has adopted many electoral reforms proposed during the Progressive Era. Popular initiatives are a common and powerful tool that is used to provide direct citizen input into lawmaking, and as such as resulted in some landmark legislation: marijuana legalization (only two of the seven states in the U.S. as of 2016), assisted suicide (only two of the three states in the U.S. as of 2016), and same-sex marriage. Both Washington and Oregon were leaders in postal voting, with Washington having a turnout of over 80% in 2012 and 92% in 2016. Cascadia was considered a key swing region up until the new millennium. Washington was one of the few states to vote Progressive in 1912, Democratic in 1968, and among the biggest pickups in the 1994 Republican Revolution.
Following the loss of influence of the Democratic Party in the United States during the decline of federal authority, many Democratic officials changed allegiance to the Progressive Party of the Pacific. The Progressive Party of the Pacific was constructed mainly out of the Democratic parties of the West: Washington, Oregon, California, and Nevada.
Separated from their conservative counterparts in the east, liberals in the western halves of Washington and Oregon sought to enact sweeping reforms long opposed by Republicans: education funding reform, income tax reform, infrastructure investment, and improvement of social welfare programs.
Military and Foreign RelationsEdit
Cascadia when it declared its independence in 2018 was one of only a few new nations to be born in the 21st century. Considering the controversy behind it, and other post-US nations, it struggled with gaining legitimacy in foreign policy circles. One of the first points the Cascade Regional Council resolved upon coming into power during the transition to independence was the country's commitment to preserving existing trade infrastructure to its fullest capacity. This was target mostly to the People's Republic of China, Vietnam, Japan, and other East Asian counties. The Republic of the Cascades began organizing the most basic foundations of international recognition upon official independence on December 31, 2018: passports, currency, offers of ambassadors, organizing the establishment of embassies, talks with existing consulates located within its borders, the establishment of a basic immigration policy, and border control enforcement protocols. This became tricky with Lewis County opting not to become incorporated in the new country, effectively cutting uninterrupted travel on Interstate 5. To combat the impasse, the Cascade Regional Council and government officials in Lewis County reached an agreement where Cascadia would contribute funds to the maintenance of Interstate 5 for its portion of traffic.
Cascadia's foremost foreign policy goals are to achieve recognition of legitimacy across the world, eventual admission into the United Nations, and corporate leverages upon newly gained independence.
The Cascade Regional Council established the Army of the Cascades from equipment and infrastructure owned and maintained by the Oregon and Washington National Guard. Facilities and equipment owned by the United States Armed Forces are planned to be fully returned by 2025, granting that there are no other long-term agreements established that may preserve an American military presence in Cascadia.
Forces from the Army Guard maintained active service of approximately 7,600 troops. The Air National Guard brought with it dozens of fighter and support aircraft as well as 5,600 airmen and women. Airways were developed from existing Boeing infrastructure and the Northwest's diverse network of airports.
The Army of the Cascades currently consists of three forces: • Infantry of the Cascades: Primary fighting forces for Cascadia, totaling 5,200 troops. • National Guard of the Cascades: Primary border control forces for Cascadia, totally 2,400 troops. • Army Air Force of the Cascades: Primary air fighting forces for Cascadia.
The combined GDP for Washington and Oregon placed the region at 11th largest in the United States. Consolidated into Cascadia, however, the country is set to produce an estimated GDP of US$463.35 billion. Significant business within Cascadia include the design and manufacture of aircraft (Boeing), automotive (Paccar), computer software development (Microsoft, Bungie, Amazon, Nintendo, Valve), telecommunications (T-Mobile USA), electronics, biotechnology, aluminum, lumber, mining, beverages (Nordstrom, Jones Soda), real estate (John L. Scott), retail (Nordstrom, Eddie Bauer, Car Toys, Costco, REI), clothing (Nike, Columbia), and tourism (Alaska Airlines, Expedia).
Prior to incorporation into Cascadia, Washington was one of only seven states that did not collect an income tax or a franchise tax. It instead levied a high sales tax as its foundation in revenue generation. Oregon, on the other hand, had the exact opposite tax structure: no sales tax and an income tax. The liberal Cascadian Regional Council successfully lobbied for the construction of an income tax system in the new nation.
With the rapidly declining value of the United States dollar, Cascadia created the note (₦) which was originally pegged at the dollar's value, is set to float on the market by 2021. The designation of new currency was an important tool in separating the American and Cascadian economies and promoting independence. Monetary reform advocates were also given a chance to change the appearance and circulation of paper currency, adding security features, and other features like braille and size differences for people with visual disabilities.