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New Mexico’s Bumpy Road to Statehood

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Presentation on theme: "New Mexico’s Bumpy Road to Statehood"— Presentation transcript:

1 New Mexico’s Bumpy Road to Statehood
The Long and Winding Road!

2 The Long and Bumpy Road to Statehood 13-14

3 The Long and Bumpy Road to Statehood 13-14
The Treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo would end the Mexican War and, with it, the United States achieved one of its principal objectives: the acquisition of New Mexico and California and recognition of the Rio Grande as Texas’ Western boundary. The Long and Bumpy Road to Statehood 13-14

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Along with the new territory, the nation also acquired an alien population and a boatload of problems! The Long and Bumpy Road to Statehood 13-14

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Indeed, there were blunt spokesmen who went so far as to suggest that the United States had made a bad bargain in annexing New Mexico. The Long and Bumpy Road to Statehood 13-14

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Some years after the Civil War, General William T. Sherman, who heartily disliked the arid country and the people of the Southwest, was quoted as saying that “the United States ought to declare war on Mexico and make it take back New Mexico.” The Long and Bumpy Road to Statehood 13-14

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One result of such hostility was that New Mexicans for more than sixty years were repeatedly checkmated in their efforts to achieve statehood. This resulted in their land remaining a US territory until 1912, with officials appointed from Washington. Upon that vexation were piled others – problems with hostile Indians and outlaws, problems of education and economics, difficulties involving land and water rights and territorial boundaries. The Long and Bumpy Road to Statehood 13-14

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A central issue was the uphill job of adapting to a new pace and pattern of life, one ruled by a different philosophy. A country and people so unlike the rest of the United States seemed to have a poor chance of adjusting to the militant demands of American patriotism and economic nationalism. The Long and Bumpy Road to Statehood 13-14

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So, one argument against the people of New Mexico and against the possibility of statehood for the region was CULTURAL! Basically, the rest of the nation was being PREJUDICED!!! The Long and Bumpy Road to Statehood 13-14

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Yet things were not as black as they appeared. The New Mexicans, like most pioneers, were accustomed to living by luck and hope, and they possessed some firm traits of character, often overlooked by American newcomers, that promised to see them through the hard times of their territorial days. The Long and Bumpy Road to Statehood 13-14

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What do we mean when we say, “Territorial Days”? The Long and Bumpy Road to Statehood 13-14

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The Anglo-Americans entering New Mexico in the late 1840s and 1850s were small in numbers but large in influence. New merchants came, as establishment of regular stagecoach and freight service with the East stimulated business. The Long and Bumpy Road to Statehood 13-14

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The ranks of the military swelled with the construction of Fort Union (1851) and Fort Stanton (1855) on the Indian frontier. The Long and Bumpy Road to Statehood 13-14

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Besides the merchants and soldiers, there were the lawyers in frock coats and bat-wing collars. They descended in swarms, after the conquest, eager for political power and a slice of New Mexico’s vast real estate, which represented the country’s most visible wealth. The Long and Bumpy Road to Statehood 13-14

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The state of New Mexican politics in the period following the Mexican War was ready-made for lawyers and opportunists of all sorts to jockey for advantage. The assassination of Governor Charles Bent and the collapse in 1847 of the civil government created by Kearny left the area under virtual military rule.  The Long and Bumpy Road to Statehood 13-14

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That situation continued over the next several years, while Congress debated New Mexico’s future political status. In the meanwhile, persons on the Rio Grande broke into two opposing camps: the supporters of a territorial form of government, and the advocates of immediate statehood.  The Long and Bumpy Road to Statehood 13-14

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Basically, Anglo-Americans, being in the minority, favored the territorial system. If New Mexico stayed a territory, its principal officials would be appointed in Washington. For that reason, the Hispanic majority tended to lean toward statehood; with the right to elect their own officials, they could easily put native New Mexicans into the highest offices. The Long and Bumpy Road to Statehood 13-14

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Establishing Borders The Compromise of 1850, among other things provided for the organization of New Mexico as a territory. The Compromise also resolved another complicated matter – an old Texas claim to that portion of New Mexico lying east of the Rio Grande. The Long and Bumpy Road to Statehood 13-14

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For ten million dollars’ compensation provided by the United States government, Texas relinquished her claim, thus paving the way for establishment of a permanent boundary with New Mexico. The Long and Bumpy Road to Statehood 13-14

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The Territory, as organized in 1850, included the New Mexico and Arizona of later years, and a part of southern Colorado. The Long and Bumpy Road to Statehood 13-14

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New Mexico’s southern border with Mexico was less easily settled. In accordance with the Treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo, a joint boundary commission was organized and began (in July 1849) the task of surveying a dividing line between the two nations. The Long and Bumpy Road to Statehood 13-14

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The US surveyors working with the commission also had instructions to look for a practical railroad route to the Pacific, close to the boundary, and to ascertain the agricultural possibilities of the new country. The Long and Bumpy Road to Statehood 13-14

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In the course of the boundary work, it was discovered that the map used to establish the original treaty line had been inaccurate and that the border would in fact have to be placed thirty miles farther north. The Long and Bumpy Road to Statehood 13-14

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That slip meant withdrawing five or six thousand square miles from the United States and losing a potentially rich farming district in the Mesilla valley!!! The Long and Bumpy Road to Statehood 13-14

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Before a serious dispute could develop, the American minister to Mexico, James Gadsden, negotiated in 1853 the treaty that bears his name, providing for the purchase of a large tract of desert land in southern New Mexico. The Long and Bumpy Road to Statehood 13-14

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The area offered an advantageous route for a transcontinental railway entirely on American soil, and its acquisition concluded the final adjustment of our border with Mexico. The Long and Bumpy Road to Statehood 13-14

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The gold rush to the Rockies and the ensuing boom in population led to the formation of the Colorado Territory in As a result, New Mexico lost ground, for its northern boundary was pulled back to the parallel of 37 degrees. The Long and Bumpy Road to Statehood 13-14

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The reduction meant the territory was deprived of a valuable coal-mining area around Trinidad and of jurisdiction over those outermost settlements in the upper San Luis valley created by New Mexicans in the previous decade. The Long and Bumpy Road to Statehood 13-14

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In these early years of adjusting to its new place in the Union, New Mexico absorbed a respectable quota of adventurers, gamblers, speculators, and renegade whiskey-peddlers from the eastern states – but it also got a share of those solid upright, intelligent citizens representing the glue that held a democratic society together and gave it its strength. The Long and Bumpy Road to Statehood 13-14

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Before education or the natural process of assimilation could make much headway, however, the people of the Southwest found themselves caught up in the momentous and ugly Civil War. It was an issue in which the New Mexicans felt only a small stake. The Long and Bumpy Road to Statehood 13-14

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The question of the expansion of slavery to the western territories, especially the New Mexico territory, dominated the debate in Congress during the 1850s. The Long and Bumpy Road to Statehood 13-14

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When the storm broke, splitting the country in half, New Mexico unexpectedly found herself part of the theater of conflict. From the outset, the newly formed Confederacy cast covetous eyes westward, where it dreamed of creating an empire that would reach the Pacific. Winning the West became a crucial aspect of winning the war for the Confederacy.  The Long and Bumpy Road to Statehood 13-14

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The grand strategy developed by Southern leaders showed plainly that as a first step toward westward expansion, New Mexico must be brought into the Confederacy. The Long and Bumpy Road to Statehood 13-14

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The Rio Grande, for centuries the scene of fierce struggles between the Spanish and Native Americans now experienced the violence between Northerners and Southerners. Brigadier General Henry H. Sibley of the Confederate army and Colonel Edward R.S. Canby, commander of Federal forces in New Mexico first clashed at the Battle of Valverde. The Long and Bumpy Road to Statehood 13-14

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Edward R.S. Canby: Union Kit Carson saw action at Valverde! The Long and Bumpy Road to Statehood 13-14

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The Civil War in the Southwest was indeed moving toward a climax. On March 27 and 28, 1862, regular troops from Fort Union, supported by the Colorado Volunteers, met the Rebels at Glorieta, in what would become known as the “Gettysburg of the West”. The Long and Bumpy Road to Statehood 13-14

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Victory would be snatched from the Rebels’’ hands when Major John M. Chivington of the volunteers delivered a wholly unexpected thunderbolt. He and his men would burn the Confederate wagons and bayonet nearly 500 horses and oxen. The Long and Bumpy Road to Statehood 13-14

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The disaster at Glorieta and the retreat of the Confederate Army to Texas scuttled for all time Confederate hopes for an empire in western America. The Long and Bumpy Road to Statehood 13-14

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One consequence of the Civil War in the Southwest was that the U.S. Congress finally turned its attention to the creating of another territory. Arizona would be literally carved from the western half of New Mexico in 1863. The Long and Bumpy Road to Statehood 13-14

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Another outcome was that it left the frontier open to attack by hostile Indians. It was not lost on the tribes seeking plunder or bearing old grudges that the white men were fighting among themselves, abandoning forts, and withdrawing troops for duty in the East. The ensuing bloodshed brought nightmarish days to New Mexico. The Long and Bumpy Road to Statehood 13-14

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So, what were TWO OUTCOMES of the War in the Southwest? The Long and Bumpy Road to Statehood 13-14

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Brigadier General James Carleton, a Californian, assumed command of the Military Department of New Mexico. His troops were ready for acting and he had fixed notions about how to deal with hostile tribes: “Wage merciless war against all hostile tribes, force them to their knees, and then confine them to reservations where they could be Christianized and instructed in agriculture.” The Long and Bumpy Road to Statehood 13-14

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The Mescalero Apaches of southern New Mexico were first to feel the effect of Carlton’s strategy. Placing Militia Colonel Kit Carson in charge of troops in the field, the general sent his men to harry the tribe into submission. The Long and Bumpy Road to Statehood 13-14

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By March 1863, Carson brought four hundred warriors with their families to the new Bosque Redondo Reservation on the Pecos River in southeastern New Mexico. Here Fort Sumner, constructed by Carleton, stood guard. The Long and Bumpy Road to Statehood 13-14

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The “Long Walk”: Next it was the turn of the Navajo, a people numbering at that time some ten thousand and inhabiting the crumpled and rock-strewn lands of western New Mexico. For years, Spanish and Mexican expeditions had tried to bring them to bay, but the Navajo proved too nimble, fading into the remote canyon lands whenever their enemies gave chase. The Long and Bumpy Road to Statehood 13-14

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The Long Walk of the Navajos Ernest L. Blumenschein The Long and Bumpy Road to Statehood 13-14

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During the last half of 1863, government troops marched and countermarched through Navajo land, destroying crops and orchards and capturing livestock. They fought no major battles, but their campaigning left the Navajo economy in ruins. In January of 1864, Kit Carson led his men into the depths of Canyon de Chelly, where, for the first time, he encountered a large body of Navajo.  The Long and Bumpy Road to Statehood 13-14

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They were exhausted and starving, and at that point disposed to listen to a man who was known to be trustworthy. The tribe would have to emigrate to a government reservation at Bosque Redondo, Carson told them, but that was preferable to annihilation. Under the circumstances, the majority of the Navajo agreed, and they surrendered. The Long and Bumpy Road to Statehood 13-14

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