How Did Arizona Become a State?

Chiara Salvadori/Moment/Getty Images

The road to statehood was not easy for Arizona, which was signed into the union on February 14, 1912, by President William Howard Taft. For 49 years, Arizona had been a territory before its admission into statehood in 1912.

Efforts to gain statehood started as early as 1850, but they were unsuccessful. However, signs of success started showing in the late 19th century and the early 20th century. Questions about the viability of Arizona as a state arose, with the main issues being the population and the availability of water in Arizona. This led to the introduction of a new proposal that Arizona and New Mexico should be united to form one state. Arizonans were not comfortable with that proposal because they did not want to intermingle with the New Mexican people and the Hispanic culture, the Arizonans took a page that included recall, referendum and initiative from the progressive states constitutions.

Because President Taft was not supportive of the idea of Arizona becoming a state, he rejected the approval of Congress on the statehood of Arizona with one condition to remove the provision of voting out judges from their constitution because he did not like recalling of judges. However, the provision was removed and Arizona was ushered into statehood; after being signed, this provision was reinstated.