By Nathan Barton
Modern technology means that the communications and access gap between the “home country” and “colonies” is largely gone. In the days of sail – say, the British Empire before the American Revolution – it took one to two months to cross from England to the Atlantic Seaboard. Today, that is an 8-hour flight.
More to the point, when California was admitted to the Union in 1850, it was a 40-50 day trip from the Atlantic Seaboard to Los Angeles or San Francisco, via Panama. It was a six-month journey by wagon train from Missouri. In 1858, the first transcontinental stagecoach line took 25 days (St. Louis to San Francisco). After 1869, the transcontinental railroad still required 6-10 from DC to California. Communications (Pony Express was faster, but still numbered in weeks) did not allow instant (or near-instant) communications between DC and California until 24 October 1861, by telegraph.
Yet California and Oregon (1859) were both admitted to the Union and functioned as States. Today, there is virtually no place on the planet that cannot be reached instantaneously by high-bandwidth communications, or by air travel within 30 hours or much less.