The Territorial Years – Part 2


The Move Toward Statehood

In 1910 Congress passed legislation enabling a constitutional convention for Arizona.

The constitution created by the 41 Democratic and 11 Republican delegates called for:

  • legislators of both houses to be elected every 2 years to serve a 2-year term
  • low pay for the Governor
  • popular elections of judges
  • all officials, including judges, subject to recall

Voters overwhelmingly approved the constitution February 9, 1911.

President Taft Vetoes Resolution for Statehood

Congress passed a joint resolution calling for statehood for Arizona and New Mexico in August 1911.

President William Howard Taft vetoed the measure.  He opposed the provision for the recall of judges in Arizona’s constitution.

The following December Arizona voters exempted judges from recall and elected the following slate of state officials:

Appeased by the exemption of judges from recall, President Taft signed the proclamation making Arizona the 48th state on February 14, 1912.

Shortly after becoming a state the voters of Arizona amended their constitution to once again make judges subject to recall.  They also voted at this time to provide women with the right to vote in local, state and national elections.

The Formation of Gila County

Gila County

One of the items of business for the 1st Territorial Legislature in 1864 was marking the state into 4 counties:

  • Mohave
  • Yavapai
  • Yuma
  • Pima

Yavapai took up nearly half of the entire territory.  In later years boundaries of these counties would be changed.

In 1881 Gila, Graham and Cochise counties were created.  Gila County was formed from land taken from what had become Pinal (created in 1875) and Maricopa (created in 1871) counties.  The newly formed Gila County was much smaller than it is today.

Later, land from Yavapai County was added to Gila County.  The new boundaries gave Gila County the geographical shape it has today.

Part 2 of a 3 part series

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