Wednesday, May 20, 2009

New Mexico: Statehood is an Ongoing Struggle

There's talk on the news shows about how the Republic of Texas, or its governor, keeps muttering about secession. That made me curious about New Mexico's statehood history. I am sure that if I had been educated here in New Mexico I would know all about how it became a state, but since I am a gypsy of sorts and a relative newcomer I had to do a little research. It turned up some interesting facts.

New Mexico first sought statehood starting in 1850 and continued to do so for more than half a century. In 1906 it even unsuccessfully sought joint statehood with Arizona. It has been suggested that New Mexico’s lack of statehood success was because it was considered too “foreign,” too "Hispanic," and too "Catholic." Alternate possible state names, such as Lincoln and Navajo, were even suggested to make the place sound less foreign.
The long struggle for statehood culminated when President Taft signed the documents making New Mexico the 47th state on January 12, 1912.

Even today, some continue to believe that New Mexico is not a part of the United States. New Mexico Magazine runs a humor column, one of its most popular, called One of Our Fifty is Missing. It details anecdotes in which traveling New Mexicans are congratulated for speaking excellent English, or find that they are unable to order merchandise from another state because the shipping department believes that they live in a foreign country.
The historical information in this post came from A Cuarto Centennial History of New Mexico, by Robert J. Torrez.


the7msn said...

When I was living back east and getting ready to move here, I called Mayflower, told them my dates and destination, and they promptly transferred me to their international department.

Thanks for the history lesson. I see where there's a New Mexico history museum opening in Santa Fe - guess I'd better get my butt up there.

Sylvia K said...

Great post! A great history lesson as along with stuff I didn't realize or know, even though I grew up in that other "republic" Texas, but I don't talk about that a lot.