Arizona Territory
Abraham Lincoln Signs On

In the mid 1850's, the western half of the New Mexico Territory included what is now known as Arizona. In 1856 citizens of this Western Half of the New Mexican area put in a request to Washington D. C. to be included as a separate region under the Organic Act to prepare Arizona, eventually for Statehood.

A territory meant settlement and federal protection from contending, fearless Indians and Mexicans

Attempts were made to qualify for territorial status. The struggle was arduous for settlers wanting to be more than an open region in the lawless wild wild West.

However, in 1862 a congressman from Ohio, Representative James H. Ashlely persuaded the House of Representatives to accept the Organic Act process with two strong reasoning points.

1) The Territory of Arizona would ensure another Yankee region to enhance the positions of the North in the Civil War conflicts and

2) and the need to tie the railroads (and the control of the railroads) into the enticing commodities of California.

These needs made apporoval for the Act to be easily accepted by both houses of Congress.

President Abraham Lincoln signed on to the venture to render the full Territorial rights for Arizona to be a new land questing for Statehood on February 24, 1863.

Territories were usually put on a fast track to statehood. The federal government maintained full control of each territorial region until the federal government felt that Arizona could write its own constitution and prepare itself for providing local and state governments.

The authorization to write a constitution was granted to Arizona by the Territorial Assembly in Washington D.C. in 1910. This was the key to becoming a State in the Union.

Prior to that time all government doings were approved and activities in the region of Arizona were controlled, disciplined and subjected to the Federal rule. Federal rule was enforced by Federal Marshalls, the Calvary and territorial judges. Once the constitution was drawn and accepted by the Territorial Assembly it would be sent to both houses of congress and the President of the United States for final approval.

Marshall Law ruled the day but not forever. Independence, taming of the land, and defiance of politicians may have set Arizona on a slow trak to statehood. That's how the West was one/won.