This Day in History – Wyoming Becomes America’s 44th State 

President Benjamin Harrison signs legislation making Wyoming the 44th state. The eastern part of the region had been acquired from France in the Louisiana Purchase, and the western portion ceded to the United States at the end of the Mexican-American War.

Jul 10, 1890

Wyoming Becomes a State: The Constitutional …

https://www.wyohistory.org/encyclopedia/wyoming-statehood

Nov 08, 2014 · Congress used a general rule of thumb, dating back before the U.S. Constitution to the Northwest Ordinance, that a territory had to show a population of 60,000 people to qualify for statehood.

Democrats and Republicans alike in Wyoming Territory agreed by the late 1880s that it was time their territory became a state. Statehood was attractive to the territory’s businessmen and politicians, as it offered them much more local control over land and water issues. Statehood would also mean the federal government would no longer pay the salaries of the top officials — but that savings mattered less as time went on.

One big obstacle loomed, however: were there enough people? Population had grown only slowly since the Territory was established in 1869. Congress used a general rule of thumb, dating back before the U.S. Constitution to the Northwest Ordinance, that a territory had to show a population of 60,000 people to qualify for statehood. Territorial Gov. Thomas Moonlight, a Democrat, reported in December 1888 that Wyoming had only 55,500 people.

Most people lived on ranches and in small towns. The major employers, however, were the railroads (by 1890, these were the Union Pacific, the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy and the Chicago and Northwestern) and the coal mines (many owned by the railroads). But the population remained small and scattered over the territory’s 98,000 square miles. Read More

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