In this piece in our collection, several U.S. Congressmen discuss how population affects the ability to hold elections and to govern:
Beyond the numbers themselves, some viewed inhabitants (in particular miners) as “a roving and unsettled horde of adventurers, who have no settled homes there or elsewhere, and are there solely because the state of semi-barbarism prevalent in that wild country suits their vagrant habits.” Here is the full statement from a 1926 issue of The Colorado Magazine:
7. Suffrage for African Americans was a central issue throughout the process. In Colorado, it was overwhelmingly defeated, but when the bill went to Congress for a decision, some Easterners refused to pass it because of its exclusion. A later version ensured black suffrage. In this item in our collection, you can see how President Andrew Johnson addressed this issue when he rejected the bill in 1867.
8. Party politics also played a big role. Henry Teller, leader of the Golden faction of the Republican party, opposed statehood in part because he thought it would mean more Democrats in office. After Colorado entered the Union, he was elected to the Senate, where, in a strange turn of events, he also served as a Democratic senator—even helping the Democratic Party gain more power in Colorado. A handful of items in our collection recount how in 1868 he made certain statements that others claimed to be false and then tried to defend them, including the letter started below.
9. It affected national politics immediately. Indeed, Thomas Patterson, Colorado’s first Democratic territorial delegate to Congress, persuaded fellow Democrats to support statehood by arguing that it would increase their numbers. Shortly after statehood passed, the 1876 presidential election took place—one of the most disputed in history. It was widely felt that Coloradan votes had made the difference. Since Republicans ended up taking the Oval Office, the Democrats who’d voted for statehood were disappointed and Patterson was blamed.
If you want to find more interesting tidbits about Colorado’s statehood, or anything else related to Colorado history, you can check out Colorado Heritage and/or view the collection items in this blog as well as many others through our Hart Research Library.