Politics picked up as statehood neared

Lynn Moncus

As we near the Jan. 6, we can feel the excitement of becoming the 47th state in the union. We can read about the hard work both in our territory and in Washington, D.C. to see that event finally happen. Because we had been on the cutting edge for so many years, we can also feel the moments of doubt as people wondered if we would be turned down one more time.

In our own county, politics had picked up through the years as the citizens of the territory wanted to have our own constitution in place with our own legislature and legal system organized. Elections were held to send area representatives to Santa Fe to help with those processes, and party lines were drawn. City and county officials were hard at work to be sure we were well-organized at the local levels.

The population of the territory had grown measurably since the Homestead Act came into being. People from throughout the nation and world began to enter this territory, bringing multi-cultures to add to this great area.

Once the railroads were built, the numbers increased rapidly because the ease of travel made us seem closer to the union. People could come and go rapidly and could also travel throughout the territory without any trouble.

Telegraphs and telephones drew us even closer to the states and made people more aware of our location and the opportunities available here.

The newspapers also played a major role in advertising the territory and in making those outside aware that we would make a good state in the already large union. The editorials proclaimed this a great territory which would become an even greater state. These newspapers began to be read all over the country because they would be taken by travelers and would be shipped by mail to other cities.

They contained news about the citizens as well as news about the progress being made throughout this land. They also contained many stories about the colorful outlaws that caused a few problems because some of the politicians in the outside world decided we were a lawless place in which to live.

As years passed, more of those politicians began to hear of the positive things that were happening here and were changing their opinions about our becoming a state. They heard about the steps being taken to organize our territorial government and began to pay attention to the idea that we would make a good addition to the union.

We can hear some of the echoes of our citizens as they began to build their hopes one more time to the thoughts of becoming a state. Just think of some of the stories your families passed along and know how excited they were as the time drew nearer and nearer.

We really would become a state.