|Previous Page||Next Page|
Country, was made popular by its fur trade. This industry gained the interest of the United States, Russia, Spain, and England. Spain, however, yielded her interest in that territory to the United States in the Treaty of 1819, and later, in 1824, Russia agreed to cease further settlements south of 54° 40'. This left the powers of the United States and Great Britain as final competitors for the vast territory. Prior to that time, the United States and Great Britain had entered into an agreement of joint occupation in 1818 (8 Stat. 248), which remained in effect for ten years. On August 26, 1827, the 1818 agreement was essentially renewed, but for an indefinite period of time with a provision that either party could terminate the agreement upon a twelvemonth notice. 284/
Settlement in the Oregon Country was slow until the early 1840's, when large groups of emigrants began making their way along the Oregon trail in search of more prosperous lives. It was this influx of American settlers that provided the impetus for the United States to define her claim in the Oregon Country against Great Britain. President Polk reoffered a division of the territory at the 49th parallel, but Great Britain refused. The United States then exercised her right to abrogate the Convention of 1827 while expressing her intention to fight for the territory that she claimed was rightfully hers by title. New negotiations were begun and Great Britain finally agreed to the division of the Oregon Country at the 49th parallel by the Treaty of June 15, 1846 (9 Stat. 869).
Oregon was provided with a territorial government under the Act of August 14, 1848 (9 Stat. 323). This action had been delayed in the Congress because of the heavily-debated slavery issue. The people of the Oregon territory then adopted a constitution and state government. Their application for admission into the Union was accepted by the Act of February 14, 1859 (11 Stat. 383). Th« State of Oregon was formed and the remainder of its territorial lands outside the newly-declared boundaries were made part of the Territory of Washington.
Alaska was purchased from the Russians under the Treaty of March 30, 1867 (15 Stat. 539) for $7,200,000. The treaty was not overwhelmingly well received, but with the persistence of Secretary of State Seward, it passed the Senate.
The quest for Alaskan statehood was a long and tedious battle. Alaska was first established as a "civil and judicial district" under the Act of May 17, 1884 (23 Stat. 24), and was not recognized under a territorial government until the passage of the Act of August 24, 1912 (37 Stat. 512). The legislative record showed that the first statehood bill was offered in 1916, followed in subsequent years by extensive hearings and testimony on the subject. At various times during this period, bills for Alaskan statehood had been acted upon favorably in both houses of Congress and in committees of each house. 285/ Ernest Gruening's book on The State of Alaska, indicated that Alaskan industrial interests and other partisan interests were strongly against statehood, and for maintaining the status quo. They caused considerable delay to Alaska's admission.
By the 1950's, even with party platforms supporting statehood for the last two incorporated territories, Alaska and Hawaii, resistance continued in the Congress. Senator Church described the situation as "the reluctance of Congress to share its
|Previous Page||Next Page|