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Alaska Statehood Celebration Commission - History

A Brief History of Alaska Statehood
  Author: Eric Gislason

The one hundred years between "Seward's Folly" (1867) and statehood (1959) comprise an intriguing though often ignored narrative about the importance of the "great land" to United States history. The following brief history of Alaska statehood considers the region in the political and imaginative contexts of (contiguous) United States history and emphasizes certain themes revealed in this effort. First, throughout the late-19th and early 20th century, Alaska serves as an advertisement for American colonialism. A colonial economy developed in which much of the territory's natural wealth (minerals, furs, salmon, timber) was extracted from the region and used elsewhere for the profit of absentee business interests. Second, Alaska served as an extension of the American frontier, a "great northern and western citadel," in the words of one observer. This notion received a new resonance in the Cold War Years when Alaska represented the edge of American interests menaced by the Soviet Union.

"Governing Alaska" Information Packets (by Subject)
Governing Alaska - Campaign for Statehood (PDF)
Governing Alaska - Envisioning the Future (PDF)
Governing Alaska - Selling Statehood (PDF)
Governing Alaska - The Canned Salmon Lobbyist (PDF)
Governing Alaska - The State Takes Shape (PDF)
Governing Alaska - Alaska Tennessee Plan (PDF)
Governing Alaska - Native Citizenship (PDF)
Governing Alaska - A New Deal for Alaska Natives (PDF)
Governing Alaska - Higher Education for Delegates (PDF)
Governing Alaska - Natives and the Land (PDF)
Governing Alaska - Alaska Celebrates Statehood (PDF)

Statehood Stories

Anchorage Daily News - Statehood Stories
Anchorage Daily News

Juneau Empire - Statehood Stories
Juneau Empire

WATCH VIDEO of 49th Star


Historic Statehood Photos
We're in.

Alaska's governor, Mike Stepovich, and congressional advocates for statehood.

Alaska's three prospective congressmen.

Benny Benson and Bob Bartlett

Anchorage statehood celebration participants, June 30, 1958.

Anchorage statehood celebration, June 30, 1958.

At the presentation of the 49 star flag.

Ernest Gruening awarding or receiving a statuette

Bonfire on the Anchorage Park Strip to celebrate statehood.

Celebration of Statehood - July 3, 1959.

Climbing the ladder to pin 49th star on U.S. flag

Jumping For Joy

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