New Mexico Statehood
Digital History ID 568
Between 1850 and 1912 repeated efforts to achieve New Mexico statehood failed. This long delay was due to racial and ethnocultural prejudice and party competition. In 1875, southern Congressmen defeated one attempt at statehood and in 1889, northern Republicans, fearful of creating a Democratic state, turned down another proposal. In 1905, a plan to bring in Arizona and New Mexico as the single state of Arizona was rejected by Arizona voters who feared political domination by New Mexico's large Hispano majority.
In its April 1, 1876, issue, Harper's Weekly reacts to Senate passage of a statehood bill for New Mexico in 1876.
Of the present population, which is variously estimated, and at the last census was 111,000, nine-tenths are Mexicans, Indians, "greasers," and other non-English speaking people. About one tenth, or one-eleventh part of the population speak the English language, the nine-tenths are under the strictest Roman Catholic supervision.... The proposition of the admission of New Mexico as a State is, that such a population, in such a civilization, of industries, and intelligence, and with such forbidding prospects of speedy improvement or increase--a community almost without the characteristic and indispensable qualities of an American State--shall have a representation in the national Senate as large as New York, and in the House shall be equal to Delaware. It is virtually an ignorant foreign community under the influence of the Roman Church, and neither for the advantage of the Union nor for its own benefit can such an addition to the family of American States be urged. There are objections to a Territorial government, but in this case the Territorial supervision supplies encouragement to the spirit of intelligent progress by making the national authority finally supreme.
Source: Harper's Weekly, April 1, 1876.
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