New Pennsland: Idea whose time has come

Times are changing in America, and the original borders of states often no longer make sense.

Frequently large rural regions are compelled to accept laws, policies and directives designed for smaller and more densely populated urban areas. What makes sense for one often does not make sense for the other.

There are many examples of these differences, such as opinions on gun laws, law enforcement, taxation and minimum wage.

The recent imposition of controls in Pennsylvania to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, however, shows the sharp divide between what is necessary and proper for urban areas and what is needed for more rural regions.

These restrictions also highlight the inability of our state government to discern the difference and rule appropriately. The effects of this misrule will have devastating and long-lasting effects in rural areas.

This isn’t the first time this has happened in Pennsylvania.

In the late 1700s, many residents of Pennsylvania and what was then Virginia felt their states were inattentive to their needs. These residents petitioned the Second Continental Congress to recognize Westsylvania as the 14th state.

Westsylvania was to include parts of Western Pennsylvania, Western Maryland, what is now West Virginia and parts of Eastern Kentucky. This movement ended though after a successful campaign of intimidation and suppression by rich urban lawyers and agents working on behalf of Pennsylvania’s government.

As shown by recent events, the government of Pennsylvania remains inattentive to the needs of its more rural regions.

I am certain that many residents of Western Maryland and Western New York feel the same about their states’ governments. That is why I propose the formation of New Pennsland, extending from Lake Ontario to West Virginia.

It should include the rural counties of Western New York, Pennsylvania and Maryland. New Pennsland could serve as a counterbalance should approval be given for the District of Columbia to become a state.

More importantly, though, it would ensure that the rural residents of this part of the United States get the government they deserve.

Philip D. Rice



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