H.W.: California filled up with people far faster than anybody knew that it would because of the discovery of gold there. There were a hundred thousand people in California banging to be admitted to the union.
Brian: Californians joined the U.S. - but only on their terms. They drew their own oversized borders and told Congress "Take it or leave it". Why did Congress take it?
Mark: There was tremendous fear that California, and with it probably all the land, uh, west of the ... Rocky Mountains, may go off and become its own republic, so they said to California "Okay, we'll accept your boundaries".
Brian: Today, California is still a powerhouse. If it seceded, it would be the world's eighth largest economy.