Oklahoma Enabling Act

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Oklahoma Enabling Act
Great Seal of the United States (obverse).svg
Other short titlesStatehood Act of 1906
Long titleAn Act to enable the people of Oklahoma and of the Indian Territory to form a constitution and State government and be admitted into the Union on an equal footing with the original States; and to enable the people of New Mexico and of Arizona to form a constitution and State government and be admitted into the Union on an equal footing with the original States.
NicknamesOklahoma Enabling Act of 1906
Enacted bythe 59th United States Congress
EffectiveJune 16, 1906
Public law 59-234 (1st session)
Statutes at Large 34  Stat.   267
Titles amended 43 U.S.C.: Public Lands
U.S.C. sections created 43 U.S.C. ch. 22 § 944
Legislative history
  • Introduced in the Houseas H.R. 12707 by Edward L. Hamilton (RMI) on January 22, 1906
  • Committee consideration by House Committee on Territories, Senate Committee on Territories
  • Passed the House on January 25, 1906 (195-150)
  • Passed the Senate on March 9, 1906 (42-29)
  • Reported by the joint conference committee on June 13, 1906; agreed to by the House on June 14, 1906 (Agreed) and by the Senate on June 15, 1906 (Agreed)
  • Signed into law by President Theodore Roosevelt on June 16, 1906

The Enabling Act of 1906, [1] in its first part, empowered the people residing in Indian Territory and Oklahoma Territory to elect delegates to a state constitutional convention and subsequently to be admitted to the union as a single union.

Indian Territory U.S. 17th-, 18th- and early-20th-century territory set aside by the United States Government for the relocation of the indigenous peoples of the Americas

As general terms, Indian Territory, the Indian Territories, or Indian country describe an evolving land area set aside by the United States Government for the relocation of Native Americans who held aboriginal title to their land. In general, the tribes ceded land they occupied in exchange for land grants in 1803. The concept of an Indian Territory was an outcome of the 18th- and 19th-century policy of Indian removal. After the Civil War (1861–1865), the policy of the government was one of assimilation.

Oklahoma Territory territory of the USA between 1890-1907

The Territory of Oklahoma was an organized incorporated territory of the United States that existed from May 2, 1890, until November 16, 1907, when it was joined with the Indian Territory under a new constitution and admitted to the Union as the State of Oklahoma.


The act, in its second part, also enabled the people of New Mexico Territory and of Arizona Territory to form a constitution and State government and be admitted into the Union, requiring a referendum to determine if both territories should be admitted as a single state. [2]

New Mexico Territory territory of the United States of America, 1850-1912

The Territory of New Mexico was an organized incorporated territory of the United States that existed from September 9, 1850, until January 6, 1912, when the remaining extent of the territory was admitted to the Union as the State of New Mexico, making it the longest-lived organized incorporated territory of the United States, lasting approximately 62 years.

Arizona Territory US 19th century-early 20th century territory

The Territory of Arizona was a territory of the United States that existed from February 24, 1863 until February 14, 1912, when the remaining extent of the territory was admitted to the Union as the state of Arizona. It was created from the western half of the New Mexico Territory during the American Civil War.


The Oklahoma Organic Act of 1890 contemplated admitting Oklahoma and Indian Territories as a single state. However, residents of Indian Territory sponsored a bill to admit Indian Territory as the State of Sequoyah, which was defeated in the U. S. Congress in 1905. President Theodore Roosevelt then proposed a compromise that would join Indian Territory with Oklahoma Territory to form a single state. This resulted in passage of the Oklahoma Enabling Act, which President Roosevelt signed June 16, 1906. [2]

Oklahoma Organic Act

An Organic Act is a generic name for a statute used by the United States Congress to describe a territory, in anticipation of being admitted to the Union as a state. Because of Oklahoma's unique history,, an explanation of the Oklahoma Organic Act needs a historic perspective. In general, the Oklahoma Organic Act may be viewed as one of a series of legislative acts, from the time of Reconstruction, enacted by Congress in preparation for the creation of a unified State of Oklahoma. The Organic Act created Oklahoma Territory, and Indian Territory that were Organized incorporated territories of the United States out of the old "unorganized" Indian Territory. The Oklahoma Organic Act was one of several acts whose intent was the assimilation of the tribes in Oklahoma and Indian Territories through the elimination of tribal reservations and the elimination of the tribes' communal ownership of property.

State of Sequoyah attempt in the early 20th century by Native Americans to form their own state

The State of Sequoyah was a proposed state to be established from the Indian Territory in the eastern part of present-day Oklahoma. In 1905, with the end of tribal governments looming, Native Americans of the Five Civilized Tribes—the Cherokee, Choctaw, Chickasaw, Creek (Muscogee), and Seminole—in Indian Territory proposed to create a state as a means to retain control of their lands. Their intention was to have a state under Native American constitution and governance. The proposed state was to be named in honor of Sequoyah, the Cherokee who created a writing system in 1825 for the Cherokee language.

Theodore Roosevelt 26th president of the United States

Theodore Roosevelt Jr. was an American statesman, politician, conservationist, naturalist, and writer who served as the 26th president of the United States from 1901 to 1909. He previously served as the 25th vice president of the United States from March to September 1901 and as the 33rd governor of New York from 1899 to 1900. As a leader of the Republican Party during this time, he became a driving force for the Progressive Era in the United States in the early 20th century. His face is depicted on Mount Rushmore, alongside those of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Abraham Lincoln. In polls of historians and political scientists, Roosevelt is generally ranked as one of the five best presidents.

Requirements for the Oklahoma Constitution

The Act included several other requirements for the Oklahoma Constitution: [1]

Guthrie, Oklahoma City in Oklahoma, United States

Guthrie is a city and county seat in Logan County, Oklahoma, United States, and a part of the Oklahoma City Metroplex. The population was 10,191 at the 2010 census, a 2.7 percent increase from the 9,925 at the 2000 census.

The constitution was written to meet these requirements. President Roosevelt proclaimed Oklahoma a state on November 16, 1907. [2]

Equal footing doctrine

The requirement to keep Guthrie as the State's temporary capital was challenged in court after Oklahoma City, Oklahoma won the election and the capital was moved prematurely. Coyle v. Smith was the US Supreme Court Case that helped define the equal footing doctrine. [8]

On December 29, 1910, the state of Oklahoma enacted a statute which removed the state capital from Guthrie to Oklahoma City. W.H. Coyle, owner of large property interests in Guthrie, sued the state of Oklahoma, arguing that the move was performed in violation of the state constitution's acceptance of the terms of Congress's enabling act.

The power given to Congress by Art. IV, § 3, of the Constitution is to admit new States to this Union, and relates only to such States as are equal to each other in power and dignity and competency to exert the residuum of sovereignty not delegated to the Federal Government.

The Supreme Court held that preventing the state of Oklahoma the right to locate its own seat of government deprived it of powers which all other states of the Union enjoyed, and thus violated the traditional constitutional principle that all new states be admitted "on an equal footing with the original states". As a result, the provision of the enabling act which temporarily restricted Oklahoma's right to determine where its seat of government would be was unconstitutional.

Enablement of Arizona and New Mexico statehood

The second part of the act provided for the enablement of the peoples of Arizona and New Mexico to form a state constitution and government in anticipation of admission to the union as a single state. [2] However, the combined state was not admitted under these provisions; instead a separate act, the State Enablement Act of 1910, [9] was enacted and was the statutory vehicle that led to their admissions as individual states.

See also

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William H. Murray ninth governor of Oklahoma

William Henry Davis "Alfalfa Bill" Murray was an American educator, lawyer, and politician who became active in Oklahoma before statehood as legal adviser to Governor Douglas H. Johnston of the Chickasaw Nation. Although not American Indian, he was appointed by Johnston as the Chickasaw delegate to the Convention for the proposed State of Sequoyah, and was later elected as a delegate to the 1906 constitutional convention for the proposed state of Oklahoma.

An enabling act is a piece of legislation by which a legislative body grants an entity which depends on it the power to take certain actions. For example, enabling acts often establish government agencies to carry out specific government policies in a modern nation. The effects of enabling acts from different times and places vary widely.

Constitution of Oklahoma

The Constitution of the State of Oklahoma is the governing document of the U.S. State of Oklahoma. Adopted in 1907, Oklahoma ratified the United States Constitution on November 16, 1907, as the 46th U.S. state. At its ratification, the Oklahoma Constitution was the most lengthy governing document of any government in the U.S. All U.S. state constitutions are subject to federal judicial review; any provision can be nullified if it conflicts with the U.S. Constitution.

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History of Oklahoma history of the U.S. state of Oklahoma

The history of Oklahoma refers to the history of the state of Oklahoma and the land that the state now occupies. Areas of Oklahoma east of its panhandle were acquired in the Louisiana Purchase of 1803, while the Panhandle was not acquired until the U.S. land acquisitions following the Mexican–American War.

Coyle v. Smith, 221 U.S. 559 (1911), was a Supreme Court of the United States case that held that the newly created state of Oklahoma was permitted to move its capital city from Guthrie to Oklahoma City, notwithstanding the Enabling Act provision that prohibited it from being moved from Guthrie until after 1913.

Enable or Enabling can refer to one of the following:

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New States may be admitted by the Congress into this Union; but no new State shall be formed or erected within the Jurisdiction of any other State; nor any State be formed by the Junction of two or more States, or Parts of States, without the Consent of the Legislatures of the States concerned as well as of the Congress.

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On the eve of the American Civil War in 1861, a significant number of Indigenous peoples of the Americas had been relocated from the Southeastern United States to Indian Territory, west of the Mississippi. The inhabitants of the eastern part of the Indian Territory, the Five Civilized Tribes, were suzerain nations with established tribal governments, well established cultures, and legal systems that allowed for slavery. Before European Contact these tribes were generally matriarchial societies, with agriculture being the primary economic pursuit. The bulk of the tribes lived in towns with planned streets, residential and public areas. The people were ruled by complex hereditary chiefdoms of varying size and complexity with high levels of military organization.


  1. 1 2 Pub.L.   59–234 , H.R. 12707, 34  Stat.   267 , enacted June 16, 1906
  2. 1 2 3 4 Everett, Dianna. Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture. "Enabling Act (1906)." Retrieved January 10, 2012. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on November 23, 2011. Retrieved January 10, 2012.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  3. 1 2 3 4 Enabling Act Sec 2
  4. Enabling Act Sec 7
  5. Enabling Act Sec 8
  6. Enabling Act Sec 21
  7. Enabling Act, Preamble
  8. Coyle v. Smith , 221U.S.559 (1911).
  9. Pub.L.   61–219 , H.R. 18166, 36  Stat.   557 , enacted June 20, 1910