Andrés Pico, California, Californios, The Pico Act

The Pico Act – A Former Plan To Split Southern California Into A Separate Pro-Slavery State

Photograph Andrés Pico in the 1860s.

In 1859 Andrés Pico, a veteran of the Mexican-American War whom faught in the Battle of San Pascual, worked with an alliance of Mexican Californios and proslavery southerners to formulate “The Pico Act”. Many Californios were concerned that their tax dollars were going to mining efforts in Northern California, and they wanted a separate state that would focus on more agricultural interests.

A meeting of the California State Legislature, in Sacramento, passed “The Pico Act”. However, Southern and Northern Congressman and senators disagreed on whether to expand slavery to the pacific coast, since Northern politicians did not believe the Missouri Compromise should expand to the westernmost part of he United States. Southern politicians wanted to have a pro-slavery State in the south so that they would have a stronger representation in the Senate. The approval of “The Pico Act” was stalled due to stark political disagreements between members of the United States federal legislature and members of the Republican Party, Northern Democrats, Southern Democrats and the Union Party members during the Presidential Election of 1860. Hence, after the election of Abraham Lincoln in 1860, and the secession of southern states, “The Pico Act” became a moot issue in the U.S. Congress.

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