The Formation of a New State
THE COMPLETION of the work of the Dawes Commission left the Indian Territory ready for statehood. Proposals to make it a state had arisen far earlier, but they had never received serious consideration since the Five Civilized Tribes had their own governments and held all lands in common ownership. As early as 1889, however, a bill had been introduced in Congress providing for the admission of a portion of the Indian Territory as the state of Columbia. It was clear to most people, however, even after the Dawes Commission had been created and had gone far with its work, that statehood would be impossible until the land had been allotted in severalty and the tribal governments abolished.
No such complications existed with respect to the Territory of Oklahoma. In consequence, its people began to ask for statehood soon after the passage of the Organic Act establishing a territorial form of government. In December, 1891, a convention was held at Oklahoma City and a memorial was addressed to Congress asking that the Territory be admitted to the Union as a state. Not long after this, David A. Harvey, the first delegate from Oklahoma Territory to Congress, introduced a bill providing for statehood, and about the same time A. J. Seay, second territorial governor, reported that the Territory would soon be ready for admission as a state.