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Oklahoma Statehood Bill

Oklahoma Statehood Bill/tiles/non-collection/l/lfp_014imgtile1.xml
Image courtesy of the National Archives and Records Administration
Oklahoma Statehood Bill/tiles/non-collection/l/lfp_014imgtile2.xml
Image courtesy of the National Archives and Records Administration

Description

Until the late 1800s, the area now known as Oklahoma was primarily populated by soldiers sent to guard against land grabs by foreign countries, explorers on expeditions to identify new areas for settlement, and Native Americans driven from their lands by westward expansion, as well as those already living in the area. As increasing numbers of settlers moved to Oklahoma and began demanding government representation, Congress established the Oklahoma and Indian Territories and provided for a non-voting Delegate to the House.

Throughout the 1890s, the territories frequently called for official recognition by the government with numerous statehood conventions held between 1891 and 1905. Territorial residents were split between single statehood, which would have combined the two territories into a single state or double statehood with each territory recognized as a separate state. Party politics, particularly the concern that adding two states at once would shift control of Congress, ultimately eliminated the double state option.

This engrossed version of the Enabling Act reflects changes by both the House and the Senate that went to President Theodore Roosevelt for signature on June 16, 1906. It paved the way for Oklahoma to draft a constitution and establish a state government for the two merged territories. Oklahoma officially joined the Union on November 16, 1907.

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