What Was the Last Contiguous State Admitted to the Union?
The United States of America is a nation built upon the idea of expansion and growth. From the original 13 colonies, the country has expanded westward, adding new states to its union. With the admission of each new state, the American landscape has grown more diverse and its people more representative of the vast array of cultures and traditions that make up this great nation. But what was the last contiguous state admitted to the union?
The last contiguous state to be admitted to the union was Arizona. On February 14, 1912, Arizona became the 48th state to join the United States. Located in the southwestern region of the country, Arizona is known for its unique geography, including the Grand Canyon, as well as its vibrant desert landscapes and rich Native American history.
The road to statehood for Arizona was not an easy one. The territory had been acquired by the United States as part of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, which ended the Mexican-American War in 1848. However, it took more than six decades for Arizona to achieve statehood. The main hurdle was the issue of water rights and control, as the territory’s arid climate made water a precious and contentious resource.
After several failed attempts at statehood, Arizona finally drafted a constitution in 1910 that addressed the water issue. This paved the way for Congress to pass the Enabling Act, which authorized Arizona to draft a state constitution and submit it for approval. In 1911, the voters of Arizona ratified the proposed constitution, and it was submitted to Congress for final approval.
However, Arizona faced one last obstacle on its path to statehood. The issue of whether Arizona should be admitted as a dry or wet state caused controversy. A “dry state” would prohibit the sale and consumption of alcohol, while a “wet state” would allow it. In order to gain the approval of Congress, Arizona was forced to adopt a constitution that included a provision prohibiting the sale and consumption of alcohol.
On February 14, 1912, President William Howard Taft signed the proclamation admitting Arizona as the 48th state of the union. Arizona’s admission marked the end of a long journey and the beginning of a new chapter for the state and its people.
Q: What does “contiguous state” mean?
A: A contiguous state is one that shares a border with at least one other state, forming a continuous landmass within the country. In the case of the United States, the contiguous states are the 48 states located in the mainland, excluding Alaska and Hawaii.
Q: Why did it take so long for Arizona to become a state?
A: Arizona’s path to statehood was hindered by various factors, including conflicts over water rights, political disagreements, and debates over the inclusion of provisions in the state constitution. These issues took time to resolve, resulting in a delay in Arizona’s admission to the union.
Q: Which state was admitted to the union after Arizona?
A: The state admitted after Arizona was Alaska. Alaska became the 49th state on January 3, 1959.
Q: Are there any other territories seeking statehood?
A: Currently, Puerto Rico and Washington, D.C. are the two territories in the United States actively seeking statehood. Both territories have held referendums in the past, expressing their desire for statehood. However, the process of admitting new states to the union is complex and ultimately requires approval from Congress.
Q: How many states are there in the United States now?
A: Including Arizona, there are currently 50 states in the United States. These states form the contiguous mainland of the country, while Alaska and Hawaii are located outside the mainland.