Government and Politics to 1923
AS HAS ALREADY BEEN INDICATED, the constitution of the new state, which went into operation on November 16, 1907, was in the hands of its friends. The government was overwhelmingly Democratic. Every state official belonged to that party, as did every member of the lower house of Congress, except for Bird S. McGuire, the former delegate to Congress from Oklahoma Territory. Moreover, the Republicans had elected only five of the 44 state senators, and 16 of the 109 members of the lower house.
The completeness of its victory gave to the party in power great opportunities and correspondingly heavy responsibilities. Numerous grave problems demanded solution. The former Twin Territories, so unlike in almost every respect, must be welded together into a united whole, since the symbolical marriage which joined them was only a colorful and dramatic gesture. Yet the people of Oklahoma Territory, except in local affairs, had had comparatively little experience in self- government, and the whites of the Indian Territory had had almost none. The latter area was in great need of more and better roads and bridges and of an adequate system of public schools. Also, it had virtually no institutions of higher learning except for a few private or church schools. Most of its lands were still owned by Indians and not subject to taxation,