Las Cruces – Celebrating New Mexico's 100 years of statehood. This week's question How did prejudice play a role in preventing New Mexico from becoming a state?
The answer from Dr. Jon Hunner, NMSU History Professor:
Part of what was behind New Mexico's failure to become a state for so long was the perception on the East Coast that this "foreign" state would come in with equal representation to all the other states. The state had a predominantly Hispanic and Catholic population and had a lot of Native Americans. Harper's Weekly in 1876 said:"It is virtually an ignorant foreign community under the influence of the Roman Church, and neither for the advantage of the Union nor for its own benefit can such an addition to the family of American States be urged." For decades, the foreignness of New Mexico prevented it from being accepted into statehood.