Running head: Arizona Arizona Statehood and Constitution Monica Williams Grand Canyon University: POS 301 November 20, 2011 Arizona Statehood and Constitution Part I: Arizona Statehood It is quite a remarkable journey that Arizona embarked upon to make it the forty-eight state of the United States of America. On February 14, 2012 it became an integral part of this new found world of democracy and freedom. Along with its vast cultures and heated temperatures, the architectural design of the city is a pure reflection of the inhabitants who were established here before to make it their own homeland.
This essay will examine the road to statehood and analyze the events to make Arizona become a state. The Preterritorial Period There has been archaeological evidence from over thousands of years that people inhabited Arizona even before the Europeans arrived. It has even been said that Arizona could possibly be the oldest state to be continuously have settlement in the United States, (McClory, 2001). The earliest settlers lived in tiny nomadic groups, (McClory, 2001). Soon the agriculture became more cultured so more permanent settlers started to permanently stay.
There were three major cultures that emerged from this change: the Anasazi, Hohokam, and Mogollon, (McClory, 2001). There were no way to tell of a definite type of social organization, just complex architectural designs and artifacts that were left behind can only assume that there was some. The Spanish Period (1539 – 1821) Spain was the first country to have dominance over Arizona (McClory, 2001). “It established the colony of New Spain on the ruins of the conquered Aztec empire in the early 1500’s” (McClory, p. 12, 2001). When Mexico City’s first ruler arrived, there became an expedition of Arizona let by Marcos de Niza.
He was sent to find the “seven cities of gold. ” Soon after, Francisco Vasquez de Coronado and other significant explorers followed in search of the colorful city. This possibly was one of the first written accounts of Arizona. Permanent settlers began to occupy this region and soon after, Tubac (1752) and Tucson (1775) were among the first official Arizona towns (McClory, 2001). Spain was never really successful in the colonization of Arizona. Only about one thousand Hispanics inhibited in Arizona despite the Spanish control.
The Native Americans took more hostile precedence over Arizona until the government took more control after the Spanish rule. The Mexican Period (1821-1848) Mexico took over political control from Spain once Mexico was established their independence in 1821 (McClory, 2001). Ironically, this endeavor reduced the Hispanic population in Arizona because of the discontinuation of the Apache pacification program (McClory, 2001). The Apache continued to raid and the Hispanic settlers continued to abandoned their homes and crops (McClory, 2001). The Mexico regime deprived government did not have monies nor military resources to control the Apaches.
The Apaches were inhibited in remote regions and the government was constantly plagued with civil wars. In 1824, Mexico became a federal republic and Arizona became a part of Occidente (McClory, 2001). Even though this time was short, it became the first establishment of Arizona’s state constitution. In 1831, Occidente split up into two halves, southern Arizona became part of Mexican state of Sonora and northern Arizona became controlled by Native Americans (McClory, 2001). A formal government could not be established because of the lack of population.
In 1831, Mexico felt the towns were too small to have a mayor so the top office position was the justice of peace (McClory, 2001). Few families monopolized the positions because of the literacy requirement. Compared to the United States at that time, Arizona contrasted tremendously with their democratic system. U. S. Controlled Period (1848 – 1863) War was declared in 1846 between the United States and Mexico. Initially the war was triggered by a dispute over the Texas border and the American citizens (McClory, 2001). Manifest Destiny caught up the U. S. because the need for access to the Pacific Ocean for trading.
In 1848, the Treaty of Guadalupe was signed. For 15 million, Mexico ceded more than one-third of its territory and the U. S. acquired all of Arizona north of the Gila River (McClory, 2001). Unfortunately, southern Arizona still was in control by Mexico, which included Tucson. Arizona and New Mexico became one territory called the Territory of New Mexico. Soon after, the United States paid another 10 million for 30,000 square miles of the Mexican territory that included Tucson. Congress thought the purchase was meaningless because it was just desert land. The Gadsden Purchase gave the final boundary that Arizona has today.
In 1860, along with the constitution, a governor and other elected officials were established. That was unfortunately short lived because of the Civil War. In 1862, Union troops entered the state and placed it under martial rule, this action further delayed Arizona’s official admission as a state (McClory, 2011). The Territorial Period Congress finally pushed for Arizona to have separate territorial status because of the discovery of precious metals. On February, 24, 1863, President Abraham Lincoln signed the Organic Act, which officially created Arizona’s territory (McClory, 2001).
The first official governor, John Goodwin, took the oath of office on December 29, 1863. Prescott became the capital in 1864, then to Tucson (1867), then back to Prescott (1877), and finally and currently in Phoenix (1889). Local promoters that sought home development caused the frequent moves of the capital. The territory residents did not have a lot of political freedom. They did not have a voice over the choice of the chief officials; they were all appointed by the United States President. Several of the citizens were democratic while the officials were republicans which in turn caused greater friction.
Federal government ruled Arizona. The state officials were corrupt; they did not care about the territory. Some did it as a favor to other officials. Needless to say, their positions did not last long. All three branches of government was apart of scandal and corruption, from briberies to embezzlement, Arizona’s territory was in bad shape. Arizona kept applying for admission for statehood beginning in 1872. Finally in 1891, the Arizona constitution was written and passed by voters. The United States House of Representatives passed the Arizona Constitution, but the Senate denied it (GCU, 2011).
In 1904 a bill was proposed to combine Mexico and Arizona; however the voters did not approve. In 1911, the constitution was approved by the voters again in Arizona then passed to Congress. This time it went to President Taft for his signature. He did not sign it initially, but finally agreed to sign it on February 14, 1912 and Arizona became the forty-eighth state of the U. S. Arizona’s progressive movement had a huge impact on the framers of the Arizona Constitution (GCU, 2011). There was a time when the three branches were quite corrupt, establishing rules and order alleviated the corruption and embezzlement.
Arizona went through the war zone of having political figures not to care about their state and their job functions. I think they felt if the people ruled in a democratic way, it will help to reduce those problems. Establishing ballot and recall of judges gave Arizona a type of government that was new and innovated before its time. I feel that is why it was rejected so many times because it was something new. The state did it their own way after it became official and that is something I feel the framers would be proud of today. Part II: Arizona Constitution Branches of Arizona’s Government |Powers |Functions | |Executive | |Officials are elected for a 4-year term; cannot serve more than two | | |Governor |consecutive terms; largest of three branches | | |Secretary of State |Execute the laws and judicial commands of the state | | |Attorney General |Preserves vital records, operates the lottery, handles state’s legal | | |State Treasurer |affairs; oversees elections | | |Superintendent of Public Instruction |The Governor’s job is to oversee the state’s cabinet and integrate | | | |the many responsibilities of the Executive branch | | | |The Governor has 3 legislative powers: power to propose new | | | |legislation, power to call special session, and the veto power. | | |Governor has the power to appoint judges | | | |Secretary of State is responsible for record keeping and elections | | | |Attorney General is the state’s top legal counsel | | | |State Treasurer is the state’s chief financial officer | | | |Superintendent of Public Instruction oversees Arizona’s Education | | | |Dept. |Legislative | |30 Members of Senate (1 | | |House of Representatives |from each district) | | |Senate |60 Members of House of Representative (2 from each district) | | | |Make and revise the laws of the state | | | |Only can take official action when majority or more than 90 members | | | |agree | | | |Legislators are elected from small districts throughout the state to | | | become representatives | | | |Both groups (Senate and House) work independently but majority | | | |combine can only pass laws | | | |Legislators have two simultaneous terms but not to exceed more than | | | |four consecutive terms | | | |Decides how the state’s money is spent, but the power is not | | | |absolute | | | |Has the function of making sure that state officials are performing | | | |their duties; has the power to impeach | |Judicial | |5 Justices appointed by the Governor for a 6-year term | | |Supreme Court |Resolves legal disputes | | |Court of Appeals |Applies appropriate laws to each case | | |Superior Court |Has the power to strike down laws that were created by others | | |Justice of the Peace |Court of Appeals handles cases that were originally tried elsewhere | | |Municipal Court |Superior Court is the state’s major trial court (i. e. felony crimes) | | | |Justice of the Peace courts are for misdemeanor crimes (i. e. traffic | | | violations) | | | |Municipal courts are for misdemeanor crimes that occur within the | | | |city limit | II) Amending the Arizona Constitution Voters can propose amendments using the Constitutional Initiative process: ? Voters has the capability to approve or decline the constitutional amendments proposed by the voters; must have at least 15% of the signatures for approval (McClory, 2011). ? Must be able to pass to separate stages: petition and ballad (McClory, 2011). Legislature can propose amendments using the Referendum process: ? Gives the voters the power to approve or decline new statues proposed by the legislature Constitutional Convention can be called to propose amendments: ?
Legislature would call a convention once the voters have approved the operating rules (McClory, 2011). ? There will then be a ratification by voters if the constitutional III) Reflective Analysis Since 1912, the Arizona Constitution has been amended 125 times as oppose to the U. S. Constitution that has been amended only 27 times (McClory, 2011). The fact that Arizona’s Constitution is more detailed and opened to wider interpretation; it may be understandable as to why it has been amended so many times. It is also much easier to amend Arizona’s Constitution as oppose to the U. S. because the people and the legislature can propose amendments by a vote from the citizens. On the other hand, the U. S. equires two-thirds approval from the House and the Senate along with ratification by thirty-eight states (McClory, 2011). Whether the amendment process is fair or not, it is a matter of opinion. However one would say that the legislature should have more of an effective leadership role rather than giving the people so much power. When creating the constitution the framers wanted the people to have a voice to amend anything in the constitution so the Initiative and Referendum process was developed. This gave any Arizona citizen the right to propose and approve any constitutional changes through the Initiative process. Additionally the Legislature can assign legislation to the citizens for a judgment through the referendum process.
Saying all this, do the people have too much power? Is it fair? In my opinion, I think it is fair because the founding framers built this state based on democracy. The true meaning of democracy is the majority rule. However, I do not necessarily agree with the stronghold that the people have on the voice of the state. To be fair, if it is a state issue and as long as the state is not breaking the federal constitution, it should not be a problem. Yet the actions of the state can have a negative connotation on how the decisions are made. Take for instance, Arizona was one the last states to approve Martin Luther King, Jr. as an approved holiday.
Martin Luther King struggled for fairness and equality, and to not recognize him as a day of thankfulness was ludicrous because Arizona was the last state to approve. If the progressive framers were to see how the state is run now, I think they would be satisfied because of the democracy in office. Ironically, I feel they would also be in shock of how this new world turned out. References GCU Arizona/Federal Government Module Readings. (2011). Retrieved October 28, 2011 from http://angel03. gcu. edu/section/default. asp? id=910018 McClory, T. (2001). Understanding the Arizona Constitution. Tucson: The University of Arizona Press. u. s. const. ,amend. XIX