Not to be confused with Republic of Lincoln, a survivor state carved out of the former American state of Nebraska.
The present governor is Sarah Heath, a former investigative reporter for the Lincoln State News and most recently mayor of Coeur d'Alene. With a population growth of 1.1% since statehood, the population is now over a quarter million, with a growing economy based on the timber and hunting industries. Lincoln is one of the states of the United States of America, a partner nation in the North American Union.
The northern ten counties of the panhandle of the former state of Idaho has been occupied in prehistoric times by the Nimi-ipuu ("Real People" -- misnamed "Nez Perce" by a French interpreter). Later, from perhaps 500 BC on, the Schitsh'umsh (Skitswish) tribe began to utilize the lush prairies, hills and mountains, with their lakes and rivers, to gather a rich variety of fish and game. The name they called themselves simply meant "the people who are found here." The French fur-traders called them the Coeur d'Alene -- "Heart of an awl" -- purportedly for their shrews trading skills.
As part of the Oregon Territory, the area was claimed by both the United States and the British until 1946 when the US took sole possession of the territory. In 1849, when Oregon became a state, Idaho was excluded, becoming a part of the Washington Territory. In 1863, the Idaho Territory was formed out of parts of what would become Idaho, Montana and Wyoming. The first permanent settlement by Americans was Lewistown, incorporated in 1861. It was the territorial capital until the capital was moved to Boise in 1864. At that time it was proposed that the panhandle be designated a separate state, but the proposal failed to gain traction.
By 1870, the territory of the indigenous Skitswish people was reduced from over four million acres (in parts of three states) to a mere 600,000 acres (15% of the original territory). By the twentieth century, after Idaho had became a state in 1890, the Coeur d'Alene Indian Reservation had been cut to 345,000 acres (539 sq mi) near Plummer, south of Coeur d'Alene. The proud Nimi-ipuu, once occupying the vast Columbia River Plateau, fared better 1195.1 sq mi (3095 sq km)
In 1901, some in Congress wanted to form a state called "Lincoln" to incorporate Eastern Washington and the panhandle. At the same time, a proposal was being floated to combine the panhandle and northwest Montana into the state of Koontenai. And then, in the late 1920's it was proposed that the name "Lincoln" be given to a state stretching from mid-Washington to the continental divide. It was not until after 1983 that both Lincoln and Kootenai would become states in their own right.
In the twentieth century, Idaho becomes known as a state with an independent spirit. Early on, it embraced a progressive, forward-thinking attitude. In the first decade, Idaho became the home of a network of national forests covering half the state. In 1914, Moses Alexander became the first Jewish governor in the United States. And in 1917 the state's constitution was amended to prohibit the consumption of alcoholic beverages almost three years before the US constitution was so amended. In 1918, the Non-partisan League replaced the Democratic Party, staging a take-over of local politics by a "third party" much like the one that Theodore Roosevelt had represented on his second run for the presidency. In 1919 fifty-one state departments were consolidated into only nine, effectively streamlining and, arguably, simplifying government.
The next twenty years found Idaho modernizing at a steady rate, adding railroads and a state highway system. Additionally, a system of Junior (or Community) colleges was developed, starting with North Idaho College, started in 1933. Prohibition, having started before the national law, lasted longer as well, ending in 1935. Meanwhile, in politics, primaries were opened to all voters without need to declare affiliation. Also, non-partisan election of judges began. Having seen local "martial law" declarations in the 30's, the state established the Idaho State Police in 1939.
Idaho was a center of controversy in the war years and beyond. Interment camps for Japanese-Americans were set up near Hunt, and Nuclear testing was done near Arco. The nuclear testing, though, was not for bombs, but rather for power generation, proving to many that the force of the need not be used only for destructive purposes. On the labor front, riots were curtailed somewhat as voters defeated measures by business to establish "right to work" laws aimed at busting unions.
In the final years as a united state, Idaho sees the end of passenger train service in 1966, and political uncertainty plagues the state. Further advances in environmental concern bring big changes. Nature itself, seems to turn against the state, sending volcanic ash to blanket the panhandle in 1980. Feeling the uncertainty of the times, voters pass a record eight constitutional amendments in 1982, and the governor cuts the work week of government employees to four-days for months to try to balance the budget. As a sales tax increase is imposed to cover the deficit, the local governments in the panhandle passed resolutions to secede from Idaho.
The bombs could not have come at a worse time for the law-abiding folk of northern Idaho. White supremacists had been using the Pacific Northwest's overwhelming white majority as an incentive to build a separatist presence in which no non-white inhabitants would live. They were especially antagonistic to the Jews, which they considered "in control of the US government. This antisemitism was perhaps more prevalent in their teachings than was overt racism.
At any rate, two groups were active just as the capital cities and US air bases were being destroyed all around them. In Idaho, the Aryan Nations had set its headquarters at Hayden Lake, and were lead by a retired engineer and WW II veteran, Richard Butler. He was indeed racist, but his hatred for Jews was what fueled the movement. It was the Jews, he taught, that were "occupying" the US government against the will of the American people. He had been calling for the overthrow of what he called the "Zionist Occupied Government" (ZOG) for years. The compound at Hayden Lake was a rallying sight for neo-nazis from around the nation.
One of those was a young man by the name of Robert Jay Matthews. Matthews had visited the compound several times, and earlier in 1983 had called on white non-Jewish folk to move to the Pacific Northwest in an effort to convert the area into a "white American Bastion." That speech, given at the National Alliance convention, had drawn the only standing ovation of the event. Even as the missiles were flying overhead, Matthews had been preparing for some influential racists to gather at his farm near the Canadian border, near Metaline, Washington, to form what he called the "Silent Brotherhood." The last of the men had arrived in Spokane on September 24th. Despite the chaos, or perhaps because of it, they all showed up on Monday with a renewed vision to finally take the region away from the "ZOG."
Over at Lake Hayden, Butler had followed the news reports on a small transistor radio. The rest of the compound's communications equipment had been stored in a grounded shed especially designed to withstand the expected EMP. As a result, he had an advantage over the authorities in Coeur de'Alene. Being a survivalist had its advantages. Within weeks of Doomsday, he had been able to rally like-minded men to his cause in the name of survival. Like in much of America, resources would become scarce, and it was those who had prepared before hand that would survive longer. And when those resources began to run out, the Aryan Nations' methods of procuring more did not seem to matter to most people.
Over in Washington the Silent Brotherhood, or the "Order," had moved into Spokane with reinforcements from all over eastern Washington to establish what they hoped would be a totally white nation. Life of the tiny minority was about to get very difficult!
The Rule of the Warlords
Before the end of 1984 all of eastern Washington and northern Idaho was under the political control of either the Order or the Aryan Nations. Any political opposition to their rise to local power would find itself on the "endangered species" list. This "official" antagonism against dissent led to covert meetings at area schools. At one such meeting sophomore Sarah Heath, originally of Sandpoint, who was "back home" to make use of some scholarship money in less expensive Idaho, heard of atrocities she never thought possible of American citizens. Homesick for Alaska, she was nevertheless stuck in Idaho, and she would continue her education there to earn her degree in journalism.
In 1986, soon after graduation, Heath would begin working for the local newspapers which had been reduced to "propaganda" sheets for the regime ruling from nearby Hayden Lake in what had been declared the "Aryan Nation of Spokane." To blend in Heath began to train for the annual Iron Man Triatholon events for women. The regime had latched on to these events as a way to showcase the supremacy of the white race. The grueling training allowed her access to some of the elite among the white-only athletic clubs, hot beds for the Aryan loyalists.
For publicity pieces she would write, she gathered enough information to eventually topple the government when the opportunity arose. By 1989, she was able to become an editor of an "underground" newspaper that was run by a group called the "General Resistance for Idaho's People" (GRIP). But even after joining GRIP, Heath kept her job with the government-run newspaper.
The Liberation of LewistonSee also: The Spokane War
In the wake of destruction in the Boise area in 1983, many of the refugees ended up in the Lewiston-Clarkston twin cities on either side of the Snake River. Lewiston was in what was at the time the US state of Idaho; Clarkston was in the former state of Washington. Together the two cities, along with other smaller towns nearby, formed the city-state of Lewiston. There had been a time of peace before the warlords of Spokane and Hayden Lake had invaded from up the Columbia River.
Life in Lewiston became much as it had in Coeur d'Alene, though the resistance was not as organized. However, they had been able to get a telegraph message out to allies to the south, in the new Mormon state of Deseret. Because of the dominance of the warlords, few people in Coeur d'Alene had any knowledge of the large success of the former state of Utah to rebuild apart from its lost capital city. But soon, large propellered air-planes were spotted over the southern city-state. The plane's flight path had continued up the former state line to ascertain the strength of the Spokanian army. Members of GRIP had taken this as an indication that the time was right to take their state back once and for all.
As the forces of the Deseretan armed forces came up from the south, a much smaller, less equipped resistance came from Spokane and Coeur d'Alene. Though it was just the beginning of what was to last for three years, the occupying forces from Utah had caused the Spokanian army to abandon the cities for desert warfare. The once mighty bullies had become desperate vermin in search of weak prey. By the end of 1993, though, the grand plans of the Aryan Nation and the Order had been squashed.
The Provisional State of Lincoln
With word of the destruction of Boise, and its government, the cities of the panhandle met in the confiscated facilities of the vanquished Aryan Nation at Hayden Lake to discuss forming a state in the place of the former US state of Idaho. Sentiment had been high in recent times that the more conservative upper state might have a chance of breaking away from the south. Emerging from the secure compound after a week of talks, the leaders met with the press at the county courthouse in Coeur d'Alene. For the first time in a decade, the press was truly free.
A commission was assigned to go into all the smaller towns in a fifteen county area - including five counties of eastern Washington - to recruit representatives for a constitutional convention to be held in the summer of 1994. Negotiations also began with the government of the Wyoming-based nation then calling itself the Provisional United States of America.
At the convention, delegates agreed to annex all five of the counties from the former state of Washington (all having been liberated from the warlords less than a year earlier, including Spokane itself) and to include the "historical" section of the state known as the "panhandle" (ten northern counties). The state would later cede "Idaho" county to the new state to be called Idaho, forming two states of approximately the same size. Southern Idaho would later be divided by the independent nations of Utah (Deseret) and Cascadia. The new constitution of Lincoln was indistinguishable in most points from the historical constitution of the former state of Idaho.
Though never truly independent, the state existed for six months with a provisional status while waiting for the congress of the US to approve of its status. Lincoln became a state immediately upon its acceptance by the US Congress in the spring session of 1995 in Torrington, District of America.