The Politics behind Arizona's statehood

2012-02-05T00:00:00Z The Politics behind Arizona's statehood Arizona Daily Star
February 05, 2012 12:00 am

Arizona Daily Star

Arizona gained statehood at a time when national politics was being rocked by a struggle between the conservative and progressive elements within the Republican party.

New Mexico, counted a Republican territory, had almost certainly reached its status as the 47th state a month before Arizona because conservative Republican President William Howard Taft felt he could depend upon support from his faction there.

Arizona, although having its conservative elements, was staunchly Democratic.

However, it had benefited greatly from the construction of Roosevelt Dam, completed shortly before, and was already profiting from Theodore Roosevelt's programs for development and protection of natural resources, instituted while he was president from 1901 to 1909.

Arizona must, therefore, have had an intense interest in the possibility of Roosevelt's being willing to seek the Republican nomination for the presidency in 1912.

John T. McCutcheon's syndicated political cartoon for Statehood Day, carried in its customary Page One position in the Star, speculated on the subject.

On Feb. 25, Roosevelt "threw his hat in the ring." He lost the Republican nomination to Taft, but then formed the Progressive Party, popularly called the Bull Moose Party.

That November, Democrat Woodrow Wilson won the presidency, Roosevelt came in second and Taft third.

Reprinted from the Arizona Daily Star, Feb. 14, 1962

Why on Valentine's Day?

A Feb. 10, 1912, article in the Tucson Citizen said President Taft "regretted that he was unable to sign the bill on Lincoln's birthday (Feb. 12) as he would not be in Washington. He suggested that he affix his signature on Tuesday, but that being the unlucky 13th, an objection was heard and the president decided to sign the proclamation on Valentine's Day."

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