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The Hatchet is Buried, The Constitutional Convention is Called
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In 1895 Utahns Wondered When Statehood Would Come
A State is Born
Party Politics and Utah Statehood
The Constitutional Convention is Called
Constitution Was Framed in City and County Building
African American Community and Politics, 1890-1910
The Broad Ax and the Plain Dealer Kept Utah's African Americans Informed
Clarence E. Allen Was Utah's First Congressman
How Utah Lost One of Its U.S. Senate Seats in 1899
Salt Lake Native Was Interred in the Kremlin Wall
The Shooting of Arthur Brown, Ex-Senator From Utah
Convict Labor Helped to Build Utah's Road
Strawberry Valley, 1st Federal Reclamation Project
Women's Suffrage in Utah
Woman Suffrage Dominated Politics in Utah
Kanab Residents Chose Women to Run Their Town, 1912
Ruth May Fox, Forgotten Suffragist
Soren Hanson's "House That Eggs Built"
Utah Arts Council
Utah State Historical Society
The Beginning of Public Support For Libraries
The Pasta King of the Mountain West
Celebrating the New Year in Salt Lake's Chinatown
Electrifying Utah-Engineer Lucien L. Nunn
A Brewer-Sportsman's Prairie Style Home in Ogden
Saltair
Saltair Village Was a Unique Place to Live
Boxing Fans Take the Plunge at Saltair
Castilla Hot Springs Attracted Many Visitors
Minstrel Shows
Utah State Capitol
Utah in the Spanish American War
Captain Richard W. Young and Spanish-American War
A Soldier's Life at Fort Douglas in the Early 1900's
Methodist Women Missionaries Worked Hard in Utah
Flour Mills
Guano Sifters on Gunnison Island
The Lehi Beet Sugar Factory
The Salt Industry Was One of the First Enterprises
From Free Salt to a Major Industry
Hospitals and Health Crazes in the Late 1800's
The Myths and Legends of Butch Cassidy
Butch Cassidy
Would the New State of Utah Go Metric?
A Look at Working Women in the Early 20th Century
Jobs in 1900
Explosion of Pleasant Valley Coal Company
The Lucin Cutoff
Southern Utah's First High School
Life Was Precarious in Turn-of-the-Century Utah
Salt Lake City Had Its Typhoid Mary
Vaccinations in Wasatch County
Promoting Physical Fitness
Woman's Home Association Tried to Help the "Fallen"
Juvenile Delinquency Posed Problems For Utahns
Traveling Gypsies Brought an Exotic Lifestyle to Utah
The First Large Factory in Utah
The Rise and Fall of Ogden's Packing Industry
Newsboys Claimed Their Street Corners in Downtown
The Bamberger Electric Railway
The First Cars in Two Small Towns
A Bicyclist Challenges the Great Salt Lake Desert
Daredevils of the Sky-Early Aeronauts in Utah
Ogden Defeats Salt Lake City in a War of the Wheels
Utah's Immigrants at the Turn of the Century
Boys' Potato Growing Clubs
Joe Hill and the I.W.W.
Socialist Women and Joe Hill
A Bit of Polynesia Remains
Justice Zane and Antipolygamy
The Salt Lake Valley Smelter War

Stanford J. Layton
History Blazer, August 1995

The summer and fall of 1894 was a busy and eventful time for political developments in the march to Utah statehood. The Enabling Act, which in effect invited Utah to become a state by drafting an appropriate constitution, was passed by Congress on July 10 and signed by President Cleveland on July 16. To celebrate that long-awaited and grand event, prominent Mormon and Gentile citizens joined together in a party at Saltair Resort. Old religious animosities were fading quickly, being replaced by a sectarian optimism for the future of the soon-to-be proclaimed state.

Further serving to soothe tender religious feelings was Cleveland's pardon and enfranchisement, in September 1894, of all Utahns who had earlier been disqualified to vote because of their practice of polygamy. This was an extension of the initial amnesty and pardon offered by President Harrison the previous year. It was also an affirmation of an important ruling by the congressionally appointed Utah Commission in 1893 that "amnestied polygamists be allowed to vote." Everyone, it seemed, was in a forgiving and accommodating mood.

In November 1894 Utahns elected delegates to the forthcoming constitutional convention. (Men only went to the polls that fall; women had lost their right to vote under provisions of the Edmunds-Tucker Act of 1887 and would not regain it until ratification of the new state constitution in the fall of 1895.) They selected 107 delegates from around the territory to meet the following March in Salt Lake City and frame the new constitution. In the nearly half-century since initial Mormon settlement of the Salt Lake Valley, this would be the seventh and final constitutional convention.

The 107 men elected as delegates represented a reasonably accurate cross-section of Utah society, except in matters of race and gender (again, no women). The nascent popularity of Republicans in the territory was evident in their 59-48 numerical advantage over the Democrats. Non-Mormons were represented in numbers approximating their percentage of the total population, with 28 of them being elected, including 1 Methodist Episcopal minister.

Utah's various occupations were also represented among the delegates in predictable numbers: there were 28 farmers and ranchers, 15 lawyers, 13 merchants, 8 mining businessmen, 6 educators, 5 churchmen, 4 newspapermen, 3 bankers, 3 builders, a couple of photographers and clerks, and 1 or 2 representatives from such diverse occupations as blacksmith, mason, brewer, and druggist.

As 1894 moved into late autumn, no one knew how the newly elected delegates would treat such issues as female suffrage, separation of church and state, plural marriage, right to work, eminent domain, or any other constitutional question. Yet, happiness was in the air as everyone realized statehood was within reach. John Henry Smith, one of four LDS General Authorities elected to the constitutional convention, and who was to preside over it, reflected Utah's general satisfaction with the politics of statehood when he confided to his diary on November 6, 1894, "The flag again floats for the American people."

See Stanley S. Ivins, "A Constitution for Utah," Utah Historical Quarterly 25 (1957)

 

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