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Arizona Statehood and Constitution: Cities of Cibola

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Part I: Arizona Statehood
Arizona became the 48th state of the union on February 14, 1912, the last of the lower continuous states to join the nation. Despite this Arizona has archaeological evidence dating back thousands of years which leads some to believe it is one of the oldest states to be continually populated, long before Europeans inhabited the Americas. After Columbus discovered the Americas all the great powers of Europe were trying to gain new land. Arizona became a prize to be won early on with the first to control her being Spain. Throughout the years Arizona was also dominated by Mexico before coming under U.S. control and eventually becoming a state. The Preterritorial Period PRE-1539

Arizona’s archeological evidence shows proof that nomadic people lived in the Arizona area long before cultivation was possible as early as 15,000 years ago. The people living in the area hunted the large game that roamed the area and gathered things like nuts and berries. Once the animals began to die off and they were able to grow crops three groups became the first permanent settlers of the area, the Anasazi, the Hohokam and the Mogollon. (McClory, 2010) Throughout the years major towns began to develop along with above ground housing, religious ceremonies and trading centers. Around 1100 cities and towns started being abandoned with no reason able to be decided on. (Weir, N.D.) The Spanish Period 1539-1821

Spain became the first country to control present day Arizona. In 1539 while in an advance party from a scouting expedition Estevan, a slave, become the first known non-Native American person to step into what is now known as Arizona. Fray Marcos de Niza’s expedition was to find the Seven Cities of Cibola which were rumored to be full of treasures. Once the party reached the first city they instead met their deaths as Fray Marcos watched from a distance and then returned to Mexico City telling stories of the treasures he saw. A year later an expedition led by Francisco Vasquez de Coronado entered the area only to find houses made of mud and angry people, despite this he spent two years exploring the area. Almost 100 years later the Spanish reentered the Arizona area this time building missions near the Hopi villages and attracting some converts before there was an uprising that led to the deaths of all the friars and their followers in 1680. After several more attempts to settle in the Arizona area all ending in revolts after the Spanish treated the locals badly Spain quit trying to inhabit the area. (Weir, N.D.) The Mexican Period 1821-1848

Mexico had control over the Arizona area for a short time after Mexico gained their independence from Spain. Trappers and traders from the U.S. entered the Arizona area around the same time. During the short time that Mexico was in control they reopened the overland route to California first made by Anza and established a mail route. Shortly after gaining control of Arizona the Mexican War broke out with the U.S. and Mexico fighting for control of Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and parts of California. After the end of the war the U.S. gained control of the Arizona area. (McCarty, 2004) The U.S. Controlled Period 1848-1863

Arizona was briefly a part of the New Mexico Territory once the U.S. gained controlled of the region. People living in Arizona felt that they were too far away from the capital of the New Mexico Territory to be governed properly and when the Civil War broke out they annexed themselves to become the Arizona Territory under the Confederate Flag. During the civil war there was one major battle in the territory the Battle of Picacho Pass on April 15, 1862 between Tucson and Phoenix. On February 26, 1863 Arizona became a territory again, this time under the Union flag. (Scott, 2012) Arizona Territory Period 1863-1912

Arizona wanted to quickly become a state and asked to join the Union in 1891 and 1898 but the U.S. did not consider them for statehood until 1903 when they offered New Mexico and Arizona the chance to become a state together. While New Mexico was agreeable Arizona did not want to become a state in this manner and refused, officially voting down the offer in 1906. Congress did change their minds and told the people of Arizona to start drafting their constitution in 1910. When the constitution came before President Taft it included a provision allowing the recall of judges; a provision that President Taft warned if it was included he would veto the constitution and he did just that. After rewriting the constitution Arizona residents voted their approval and President Taft approved it and signed Arizona as the 48th state of the Nation on February 14, 1912 narrowly missing being the 47th state by New Mexico signing in a little of a month before then. Conclusion

Arizona’s battle to become a state was a long one filled with many battles and change of ownership. While on the road to becoming a state Arizona residents had to face many challenges including a country that did not want them and multiple invasions by a faraway country determined to control them.


Bommersbach, J.(2012) How Arizona Almost Didn’t Become a State. Retrieved on October 27,
2012 from www.azcentral.com
McCarty, K. (2004) Emergence of the Frontier Civilian: An Introduction. Retrieved on
October 27, 2012 from mas.arizona.edu/node/685
McClory, T (2010) Understanding the Arizona Constitution. University of Arizona Press. Scott, J. (2012) Civil War in Arizona. Retrieved on October 27, 2012 from
Weir, B (N.D.) History. Retrieved on October 27, 2012 from www.arizonahandbook.com

Part II: Arizona Constitution
-carries out the laws-makes appointments to various government positions-has veto power over State Congress| -makes the laws-bicameral
Legislature-30 Senators-60 Representatives| -upholds the laws-has three courts: -State Supreme -Appellate -Superior -each has a different Function | -State legislature or a citizen proposes amendment -gain enough signatures to get it on ballot-must address long- term issues-if it gets enough votes it passes|

Arizona has a unique way for their state constitution to be amended. Rather than requiring that any amendments go through the State Congress to get introduced any citizen whether a legislator or a private citizen can request an amendment. As long as they gain enough signatures to put it on the ballot and enough voters vote for the amendment it will go into effect. I believe that this is a fair process because it requires that a majority of the people vote for an amendment in order for any change to take place so it is giving the people what they want. This also gives the people the ability to make decisions for their state and laws that most other states do not allow and I believe that this empowers the everyday citizen to want to do better for themselves and to actually vote when they can see the results more readily. I think that the Progressive farmers would be proud that the citizens of Arizona are able to make these changes even if they do not always agree with them.

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