This was William Gwin’s own copy, and Gwin himself introduced this momentous legislation
The Gadsden Purchase in what is now southern Arizona was the last American territorial acquisition in the continental United States. The U.S. did not take formal military possession of the land until 1856, at which time four companies of the First U.S. Dragoons were stationed at Tucson and afterwards at Calabazas. Late...
The Gadsden Purchase in what is now southern Arizona was the last American territorial acquisition in the continental United States. The U.S. did not take formal military possession of the land until 1856, at which time four companies of the First U.S. Dragoons were stationed at Tucson and afterwards at Calabazas. Late in 1856 Fort Mohave was established in the territory and was garrisoned by three companies of infantry. Fort Buchanan was opened in 1857. The military was established at these posts to protect the settlers from the Apache Indians.
Arizona was then a part of Dona Ana County, New Mexico, the county seat of which was several hundred miles away. Tucson was the most populous town in Arizona, but it was without any civil government. Having no ready access to courts or judicial or civil officers, there was clearly a necessity for Arizona to have its own separate territorial government. In 1854, New Mexico petitioned Congress for the organization of the territory of Arizona, but nothing was done by Congress at that time. New Mexico would do so again in 1858, but with the proviso that all the Native Americans in New Mexico would be moved to the Arizona Territory. So that appears to be their motive in giving up some of their land.
In August 1856 and again in September 1857, meetings were held in Tucson that selected men to send to Congress as Arizona representatives. However, both times these men had their right to a seat declined. On the second attempt the credentials of the representative Sylvester Mowry were presented to the House of Representatives, which referred the matter to the Territorial Committee. It reported adversely to a territorial government because of the sparse population of Arizona, and declined to seat the representative.
However, late in 1857, with Mowry’s help, Sen. William M. Gwin of California introduced a bill to organize the Arizona Territory. The lengthy bill had two major provisions that engendered opposition: 1. It provided that all of the land in the Gadsden Purchase and New Mexico from the latitude of present day Phoenix south, right to the Texas border, would compose Arizona, thus cutting deep into New Mexican territory; and 2. It organized the territory on the same basis as Nebraska, which meant that it did not prohibit slavery. Since Gwin was a southern sympathizer (who would one day serve the Confederacy), northern men in Congress were suspicious. The bill failed.
Document, being what is apparently an early draft – perhaps the first draft – of Gwin’s core bill with its twin provisions on the borders of Arizona and the organization following the Nebraska laws and regulations.
It is entitled, “A Bill to Organize the Territory of Arizona,” and read: “ Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the U.S. in Congress assembled, That all of that portion of New Mexico lying south of the parallel of latitude of thirty three degrees and thirty minutes shall be and hereby is erected into a temporary government under the name of the Territory of Arizona, and all the offices, laws, and regulations established for the government of the Territory of Nebraska are hereby declared to be applicable to the said Territory of Arizona and a portion of this act.
“Sec. 2. And it be hereby further enacted That the President of the U.S. be and is hereby authorized to appoint a surveyor general of there said Territory of Arizona, who shall have the same powers and compensation , and be governed by the same laws and regulations as the surveyor general of California, and the provisions of the act creating the office of surveyor general of California are hereby declared to be a portion of this act.”
The verso indicates that this is Gwin’s copy of the draft: “A Bill to Organize the Territory of Arizona,” at the bottom of which is written “Mr. Gwin.”
It is being offered for sale publicly for the first time.
Arizona had to await until 1863, when issues related to slavery were no longer a factor, to be organized as a Territory.
Frame, Display, Preserve
Each frame is custom constructed, using only proper museum archival materials. This includes:The finest frames, tailored to match the document you have chosen. These can period style, antiqued, gilded, wood, etc. Fabric mats, including silk and satin, as well as museum mat board with hand painted bevels. Attachment of the document to the matting to ensure its protection. This "hinging" is done according to archival standards. Protective "glass," or Tru Vue Optium Acrylic glazing, which is shatter resistant, 99% UV protective, and anti-reflective. You benefit from our decades of experience in designing and creating beautiful, compelling, and protective framed historical documents.Learn more about our Framing Services