Las Cruces – Celebrating New Mexico's 100 years of statehood. This week's question Is it true New Mexico had to try for statehood more than 50 times before it finally happened?
The answer from Dr. Jon Hunner, NMSU History Professor:
It took 62 years from the time New Mexico was officially a territory of the United States to when we finally became a state and there was an attempt at statehood almost every year. We were ready to become a state in 1850. We had over 60,000 people in the territory and the first time an election was held, overwhelmingly New Mexicans voted to become a state. Opposition occurred because of racism against the people of New Mexico, because Senators did not want to upset the balance in Congress, and because of the wild and corrupt reputation of the Territory. There were a lot of hoops to jump through at the time: We had to express our desire to become a state through elections, we had to create a constitution and we had to have enough population.