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[[Image:Superior-Proposed-State-Expanded.png|thumb|200px|right|Map of proposed State of Superior. Red areas indicate generally accepted areas of Superior, while pink areas are present in some definitions.]]
The proposed '''State of Superior''' (or '''State of Ontonagon''') is the name of a longstanding "[[51st state]]" proposal involving the [[secession]] of the [[Upper Peninsula of Michigan]] (U.P.) from the rest of the state of [[Michigan]], due to cultural differences, geographic separation, as well as the feeling that the capital in [[Lansing, MI|Lansing]] ignores the problems of the Upper Peninsula. The same area had been referred to as a possible future state named '''Sylvania''' by Thomas Jefferson. Named for [[Lake Superior]], the idea has gained serious attention at times, though it is quite unlikely to ever come to fruition due to the large amount of funding that the area receives from the lower part of the state, and the strong connections that were cemented by the completion of the [[Mackinac Bridge]], which gave the peninsula a direct highway connection to the rest of the state.
Several prominent legislators including local politician, [[Dominic Jacobetti]], formally attempted enacting such legislation in the 1970s, with no success. As a state, it would currently have the [[List of U.S. states and territories by population|smallest population]]. For instance, its 320,000 residents would represent only 60% of [[Wyoming|Wyoming's]] population, and less than 50% of [[Alaska|Alaska's]]. It would [[List of U.S. states and territories by area|rank 40th in land area]], larger than Maryland. Its largest city, [[Marquette, Michigan|Marquette]], would also beat out [[Burlington, Vermont]] as being the smallest city in the United States that is the largest city of its state.
Efforts to secede and form a new state date back to 1858, when a convention was held in [[Ontonagon, Michigan|Ontonagon]] for the purpose of forming a new state combining the upper peninsula of Michigan, northern [[Wisconsin]], and northeast [[Minnesota]]. The new state was to be called either ''Superior'' or ''Ontonagon''. The New York ''Times'' editorialized:
:"Unless Congress should interpose objections, which cannot reasonably be apprehended, we see no cause why the new "State of Ontonagon" should not speedily take her place as an independent member of the union."
In 1897, another proposal for creating a State of Superior included areas in the Upper Peninsula along with portions of [[Wisconsin]].
In 1962, an Upper Peninsula Independence Association was founded to advocate for the formation of State of Superior. A secession bill was submitted to the [[Michigan Legislature]], and 20,000 petition signatures were collected—36,000 short of the number needed—for a ballot referendum on separation.
Efforts continued into the mid-1970s (one bumper sticker suggested naming the 51st state "North Michigan"), with residents of the Upper Peninsula and northern Wisconsin, each resentful of tax drains and other perceived slights from their downstate cousins, joining together to pursue the desired legislation.
*[http://tvnews.vanderbilt.edu/program.pl?ID=484742 1975 NBC newscast from Vanderbilt University archives]