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A map of the proposed territory of Colorado, 1859. During the 1850s, the California tax laws placed a heavy burden on the ranchers and farmers who owned large amounts of land. In 1852 the six "cow" counties in southern California had only 5% of the population of the mining regions. Those six counties paid $42,000 in property taxes. That was twice as much as the mining regions paid. The Southern California delegates to the state legislature were angered by that unfair tax. They tried to secede from the state. Assemblyman Andrés Pico submitted a bill in 1859 for that purpose. It would have separated the southern part of the state along the northern border of San Luis Obispo County. The southern region would have become the territory of Colorado. The state legislature and the voters in southern California approved Pico's bill. But in Washington the slavery debate had reached a feverish pitch on the eve of the Civil War. Congress did not approve the division of California.