New Mexico Territory Contested Election

New Mexico Territory Contested Election/tiles/non-collection/e/ec_005imgtile1.xml
Image courtesy of the National Archives and Records Administration
New Mexico Territory Contested Election/tiles/non-collection/e/ec_005imgtile2.xml
Image courtesy of the National Archives and Records Administration


The first page of this 1853 House record is written in Spanish. The document verifies the votes of Valencia, a New Mexico county, for the Territorial Delegate to the 33rd Congress. In Valencia, José Manuel Gallegos received 453 votes and William Carr Lane received 765. Territory-wide, however, Gallegos garnered a margin of 445. Lane challenged the outcome before the Committee on Elections, as part of a campaign to discredit Gallegos by alleging improprieties and electoral irregularities. Despite the allegations and contested election, Gallegos became the first Hispanic American to represent New Mexico in Congress. He faced linguistic challenges during his terms in Congress: Unable to speak or read English, and not permitted an interpreter on the House Floor, Gallegos relied on the assistance of bilingual colleagues to translate legislation and interpret debate.

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