The State of What?? U.S. States that Never Made the Cut

  •  Tuesday, July 5, 2016 16:26
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The United States might have looked very different if many of the proposed states had been approved. What is now Oklahoma could have been two to three different states if events had gone differently. Take the State of Sequoyah for instance:

... One of the most unique states that almost came to be was the State of Sequoyah. The State of Sequoyah, proposed to Congress in 1905, was to have been created out of the Oklahoma Territory as a State with a strong Native American majority. Covering a territory that corresponds roughly to the eastern half of today’s State of Oklahoma, the would-be state included land that had been allotted to Native Americans through a variety of treaties following the passage of the Indian Removal Act of 1830. By the end of the nineteenth century, the tribes had been sovereign over land in Oklahoma for several decades. The political scene, however, was changing. The Curtis Act of 1898, an instrument meant to lead to the assimilation of the Native American population, was about to come into force, effectively abolishing tribal courts and tribal governments in the Indian Territory of Oklahoma. Anticipating the new realities, representatives of the Cherokee and Choctaw Nations, and later the chiefs of the Creek, Chickasaw and Seminole Tribes (taken together, these were known as the Five Civilized Tribes), gathered in August and September of 1905 to convene a constitutional convention. Their goal: to create a state government that might replace tribal sovereignty with a rough second best—Indian sovereignty through democratic majority. Their efforts yielded a constitution, which included a bill of rights, provisions for the separation of powers among three branches of government, the establishment of counties and their borders, the regulation of trade, and the prohibition of the manufacture of intoxicating spirits among other things. They adopted the name Sequoyah for their state after a suggestion by pamphleteer James A. Norman that the state be named for the storied inventor of the script used to write the Cherokee language.

Strong political forces, however, were aligned against them. With Congress and the White House controlled by Republicans, a heavily democratic Native American state stood no chance of being admitted to the Union under the terms presented by the Sequoyah Convention. Congress refused to consider the 1905 proposal. A reconfigured proposal including the western half of the territory (and a large Euro-American population) resulted in the birth of the State of Oklahoma soon afterward in 1907. ...

— Library of Congress

Read more of this interesting article at the Library of Congress: "The State of What?? U.S. States that Never Made the Cut".