April 1st, 2014

New Hampshire needs room

You may think that Vermont and New Hampshire are similar, but they couldn’t be more different. Yes, they’re both small, long, and thin, cold, and mountainous (Green vs. White). But Vermont is the most leftist state in the union, while New Hampshire is slightly libertarian.

Vermont is also a little bit larger than New Hampshire. Vermont has an area of 9,620 square miles, with only 626,630 people, whereas New Hampshire, with nearly double the population at 1,323,459, possesses only 9,304 square miles, a bit over 300 square miles less. So now, in a surprise move, New Hampshire’s Attorney General Marc Lebensraum has announced that this geographic area differential is unfair, and has revived a long-running border dispute between the two that was thought to have been settled back in the 1930s when SCOTUS ruled on the issue:

The border between New Hampshire and Vermont was set by King George II in 1764 as the western bank of the Connecticut River. The U.S. Supreme Court re-affirmed this boundary in 1934 as the ordinary low-water mark on the Vermont shore, and markers were set.

Ever since, the two states have been required by their respective state laws to formally reaffirm the boundary every seven years. Here’s a photo of the last time it happened, which was in May of 2012, and was obviously quite amicable:


Since that photo was taken, however, New Hampshire has had a turnover at the AG’s office, and new AG Lebensraum wants to re-open the old wound because he believes that New Hampshire’s larger population requires more territory, and he feels that the obvious remedy would be to take some width from its neighbor, width that, according to the AG, “Vermont neither needs nor deserves.”

You can see that Vermont, despite its smaller population (consisting mostly of cows), is actually a bit wider in its narrowest part than New Hampshire is in its narrowest part, which lends a bit of credence to his argument:


Mr. Lebensraum elaborated on the reasons for the re-opening of the dispute:

After all, why should a king have been the one to set our boundary? Surely the people of Vermont would agree with me on that; they can’t possibly be monarchists. And what’s this “low-water mark” business? With global warming, these markers are about to change anyway. Clearly, the Connecticut River belongs wholly to New Hampshire rather than Vermont (and certainly not to Connecticut, despite its name). In fact, I’m going to proclaim that, at least in its New Hampshire course, the river will henceforth be known as the New Hampshire River.

Lebensraum added that Maine had better watch out, because the geographic inequity between Maine and New Hampshire is even worse than that between Vermont and New Hampshire. Maine is a rather large state with over 35,000 square miles, which makes it ten times the size of New Hampshire, and yet it has an almost identical number of people: 1,328,302 in Maine to New Hampshire’s 1,323,459.

Lebensraum says he finds this very suspicious, although he’s not sure there’s anything to be done about it except to call Maine a population copycat. Next on his agenda is a re-opening of this boundary dispute between the two states, which according to Lebensraum has some similarities to New Hampshire’s argument with Vermont:

The issue over the Maine/NH border (also a river) was only settled by SCOTUS on a technicality in 2002. Maine’s a big, greedy state, and it’s time that ended. And again, just as with Vermont, why should on earth should King George II get to set our boundaries?

Neither the Vermont nor the Maine AGs could be reached for comment.

31 Responses to “New Hampshire needs room”

  1. Geoffrey Britain Says:

    Mr. Lebensraum’s idiocy amply demonstrates his unfitness for office and is demonstrable proof that recalls of elected officials is an idea worth consideration.

  2. chuck Says:

    Good one. That Lebensraum sure gets around.

  3. physicsguy Says:

    Good one Neo. Now can you get your tongue out of your cheek? 🙂

  4. Sergey Says:

    This April Fool Day is especially suitable for musing on meaning of border disputes and concept of Lebensraum. My Ukranian friends pay a lot of attention recently to Russian/Ukranian border.

  5. AMartel Says:

    I assumed this was an April Fools Day joke. Which it is. Lebensraum is kind of a giveaway. But this did sound all too real for a second, just given the tedious instinct of the political (“elite”) class to expand power and entrench bureaucracy by exploiting stupid controversies. I think TN and GA are fighting over a river or something. So, yeah, this could totally happen.

  6. parker Says:

    Good one! For those interested in our often weird state boundaries, Mark Stein’s How the States Got Their Shapes is filled with historical information and interesting trivia.

  7. kit Says:

    Thank you, Neo! This was so cute.

    Did everyone see Ted Cruz’ Winston Churchill tatoo, as he rolled up his sleeves to mimic his smoking hot poster? Life imitates art. He has a wonderful sense of humor.
    And he signed that L.A. poster for someone with “The fight for liberty never ends.”

  8. Mr. Frank Says:

    Once the hippies moved into Vermont it was the beginning of the end.

  9. gs Says:

    Peace in our time. I’m for it.

  10. DNW Says:

    I was in Vermont once; on my way through to Maine. I thought it – or what I saw of it – was so nice looking as to be almost artificial. Like an elaborate toy train set landscape.

    On the way through, we stopped in at a shop on the side of the road for an obligatory souvenir buy, and engaged the proprietress. She was a slim, quiet spoken, earnest seeming, dark haired woman, who reminded me of a 6th grade teacher type. She was peddling her own brand of boysenberry (or some kind of berry) jams in her shop along with all the other junk.

    We picked up a couple of jars.

    Regarding the berries: “I pick them all myself. They grow wild.” she said.

    “You do? That’s really something” we said back.

    “How’s business?”, I asked.

    “Very well” she said, while seeming a little surprised at the par-for-the-midwestern-course question.

    “I’m glad to hear it”.

    She looked at me seriously, paused, and asked “Why do you say that?”

    I almost said, “Huh?”

    Instead, having no idea what she was getting at, I just gave her the: ‘Because … freedom … capitalism … self-sufficiency … profit … personal independence … happiness … and then you make a better neighbor and more fulfilled American’ routine.

    She looked at me and said something like “Ohhhh …” in the way people do when a light doesn’t flash on.

    To this day I have no idea if she was putting me on, or if she was an emotional depressive of some kind – as she vaguely seemed to be, or if it was some Vermont liberal-culture affect.

    I guess that the Battle of Bennington was a long time ago; fought significantly by New Hampshire men; and the descendants of those Vermont men there, must have subsequently been scattered to the four winds, as they say. Or been swamped.

    Anyway, Kennebunkport was great.

  11. neo-neocon Says:


    On the other hand, she may have just been pulling your leg. New Englanders can have a very dry sense of humor.

  12. Ray Says:

    It’s not implausable. The boundary between Virginia and Maryland is the highwater mark on the Virginia side of the Potomac river which was set in colonial times. Maryland owns the Potomac River. This created some problems when Fairfax, Virginia wanted to put a pipe into the middle of the Potomac river to siphon off water for the Fairfax water supply. This ended up in a Federal court battle because Maryland didn’t want them to do it. It’s like the dog in the manger story. Maryland wasn’t using the Potomac river water and they didn’t want virginia to use it.

  13. Geoffrey Britain Says:

    OK I guess I fell for it. Sadly, too plausible to set off the early warning radar I guess. Didn’t they take the word gullible out of the dictionary?

  14. neo-neocon Says:

    Geoffrey Britain:

    Well, in your defense, all the links in there are real and based on fact. And I tried to preserve a rather serious tone for the most part.

    On the other hand—the cows? And the name of the NH AG?

  15. expat Says:

    Fishing rights have been more of a problem than water pipes. I once read that technically Md and Va are still at war over this. I’ll have to reread the appropriate parts of Maryland: A Middle Temperment to get up to date on this. Now, of course, the National Park Service owns the northern bank of the Potomac, and O’Malley wants to charge everyone a rain tax so that the bay is not polluted or something.

  16. Cornhead Says:

    April Fool’s joke or shameful publicity stunt by NH AG.

  17. Ymarsakar Says:

    They’ll make up the difference by confiscating land from Obamacare recipients.

  18. NCC Says:

    Sidd Finch could not be reached for comment.

    But I think it’s a great article.

  19. chuck Says:


    Neo produces some classics on April 1. This one got a bunch of us.

  20. J.J. Says:

    Ah yes, ye olde April Fool’s post. You’re so good at it, neo. But it’s a tad disturbing to think that fiction can be so easily spun to seem as if it were true.

    In the MSM, every day is April Fool’s Day. We must be on guard for earnest propaganda and pure fiction each and every day.

  21. Promethea Says:

    One of the strange border areas I plan to see someday:


    Flyover Country is a lot more interesting than one might think. Borders are always interesting.

    FYI, check out the wikipedia article on Moldava. What’s the difference between Rumania, Moldava, Transnistria, and Ukraine? The real worls is even stranger than a clever April Fool’s joke.

  22. Promethea Says:


  23. FOAF Says:

    C’mon. “Lebensraum”?

  24. FOAF Says:

    While the name of the AG – and the date! – should have been a dead giveaway, I otherwise would not be entirely surprised to see this kind of border dispute. The older Eastern states tend to have more irregular borders dating back to colonial days with surveyors of varying quality. My native state of Connecticut has a number of little nicks and jogs in its border. Reputedly the locals in those areas used to prefer Connecticut to Massachusetts; apparently even in colonial times MA had a reputation for high taxes. CT is very blue now though so there probably isn’t much difference any more.

  25. bob sykes Says:

    Muy fun.

    Of course, Maine used to be part of Massachusetts, and MA has almost three times as many people as NH (some are even Americans), so shouldn’t MA have first dibs on ME?

  26. DNW Says:

    ” neo-neocon Says:
    April 1st, 2014 at 7:26 pm


    On the other hand, she may have just been pulling your leg. New Englanders can have a very dry sense of humor.”

    Yes, well, like I said: “To this day I have no idea if she was putting me on, or …”

  27. Ymarsakar Says:

    Should have just called it Leben, Neo.

  28. Gringo Says:


    On the other hand, she may have just been pulling your leg. New Englanders can have a very dry sense of humor.”

    Yes, well, like I said: “To this day I have no idea if she was putting me on, or …”

    Which reminds me of a conversation with my father and some old family friends- one of my old classmates and her parents. The classmate and I were comparing notes on what old classmates were up to. I then asked her father about his old classmates.

    “They’re all dead.”

    At the time, I took him at his word.

    When a quarter century later he died at age 91, I decided that he had probably been putting me on. That is dry humor- it takes a quarter century to realize you had been put on. So yes, New Englanders do have a dry sense of humor.

  29. Gringo Says:

    You can see that Vermont, despite its smaller population (consisting mostly of cows)…

    Interesting that in a spoof involving VT and NH, you would make reference to a lot of cows in VT. Both states have their fair share of cows, but Cow Hampshire is much better known than are references to VT cows. Perhaps you were trying to give VT equal billing in the humorous cow department?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GL7uW4TYqbs 802 Vermont Rap “Don’t mess with our cows or we’ll break your knees.”

  30. neo-neocon Says:


    I am speaking of per capita cows, naturally. Vermont has the lead:

    In ratio of cows to people, Vermont has the greatest number of dairy cows in the country.

    What’s more (as anyone who has traveled extensively in both states—such as me, for example—knows), Vermont’s cows are far more visibly ubiquitous, dominant, and picturesque, and are also a far greater force in the state’s less-diversified economy:

    Dairy is synonymous with Vermont. From the
    colorful post cards to the images on Ben and
    Jerry’s ice cream containers to famous Cabot Cheese
    to the images of the Vermont fall pastoral scenes with
    cows grazing on the hillsides, dairy is the Vermont
    image held by the nation. This is no accident as dairy
    is the 800 pound gorilla in Vermont agriculture. Dairy
    is number-one in agricultural sales in Vermont since
    1900 when dairy cows replaced sheep on Vermont’s
    pastures. Dairy annually accounts for 70-80 percent
    of Vermont’s agricultural sales, making it the number
    one state in the United States in its dependency on
    one commodity.

    100 years ago, there were more cows in Vermont than people.

    On the other hand, New Hampshire has long been more industrial and urban than Vermont. By the 1910s, the number of NH cows had declined to 81K and the population was for the first time more urban than rural. I can’t find current figures for cows in NH, but I suspect there are not as many as in Vermont, much less as many per capita. And back in 1910 the population of NH was far greater than the number of cows (as opposed to the situation in Vermont).

  31. Gringo Says:

    So when it comes to cows, NH has the jokes, but VT has the cows.

About Me

Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.

Monthly Archives


Ace (bold)
AmericanDigest (writer’s digest)
AmericanThinker (thought full)
Anchoress (first things first)
AnnAlthouse (more than law)
AtlasShrugs (fearless)
AugeanStables (historian’s task)
Baldilocks (outspoken)
Barcepundit (theBrainInSpain)
Beldar (Texas lawman)
BelmontClub (deep thoughts)
Betsy’sPage (teach)
Bookworm (writingReader)
Breitbart (big)
ChicagoBoyz (boyz will be)
Contentions (CommentaryBlog)
DanielInVenezuela (against tyranny)
DeanEsmay (conservative liberal)
Donklephant (political chimera)
Dr.Helen (rights of man)
Dr.Sanity (thinking shrink)
DreamsToLightening (Asher)
EdDriscoll (market liberal)
Fausta’sBlog (opinionated)
GayPatriot (self-explanatory)
HadEnoughTherapy? (yep)
HotAir (a roomful)
InFromTheCold (once a spook)
InstaPundit (the hub)
JawaReport (the doctor is Rusty)
LegalInsurrection (law prof)
RedState (conservative)
Maggie’sFarm (centrist commune)
MelaniePhillips (formidable)
MerylYourish (centrist)
MichaelTotten (globetrotter)
MichaelYon (War Zones)
Michelle Malkin (clarion pen)
Michelle Obama's Mirror (reflections)
MudvilleGazette (milblog central)
NoPasaran! (behind French facade)
NormanGeras (principled leftist)
OneCosmos (Gagdad Bob’s blog)
PJMedia (comprehensive)
PointOfNoReturn (Jewish refugees)
Powerline (foursight)
ProteinWisdom (wiseguy)
QandO (neolibertarian)
RachelLucas (in Italy)
RogerL.Simon (PJ guy)
SecondDraft (be the judge)
SeekerBlog (inquiring minds)
SisterToldjah (she said)
Sisu (commentary plus cats)
Spengler (Goldman)
TheDoctorIsIn (indeed)
Tigerhawk (eclectic talk)
VictorDavisHanson (prof)
Vodkapundit (drinker-thinker)
Volokh (lawblog)
Zombie (alive)

Regent Badge