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Organized incorporated territories are territories of the United States that are both incorporated (part of the United States proper) and organized (having an organized government authorized by an Organic Act passed by the United States Congress, usually consisting of a territorial legislature, territorial governor, and a basic judicial system). There have been no such territories since 1959.
Regions that have been admitted as states by the United States Constitution in addition to the original thirteen were (most often), prior to admission, territories or parts of territories of this kind. As the United States grew, the most populous parts of the organized territory would achieve statehood. Some territories existed only a short time before becoming states, while others remained territories for decades. The shortest-lived was Alabama Territory at two years, while New Mexico Territory and Hawaii Territory both lasted more than 50 years.
Of the current 50 U.S. states, 31 were at one time or another part of an organized incorporated U.S. territory. In addition to the original 13, six subsequent states never were. Kentucky, Maine, and West Virginia were each set off from already existing states.Texas and Vermont both entered the Union after having been sovereign states (only de facto sovereignty in Vermont's case, as the region was claimed by New York). California was set off from unorganized land ceded to the United States by Mexico in 1848 at the end of the Mexican–American War.
Since 1959, there have been no incorporated U.S. territories formally organized by an Organic Act. When Hawaii was admitted as a state in 1959, the Hawaii Admission Act specifically excluded Palmyra Island which had been part of the Territory of Hawaii, and Palmyra remains today as the only incorporated U. S. territory, the United States Territory of Palmyra Island. Although it still has private landowners, Palmyra is uninhabited, and no Palmyra Island government has been organized under an act of Congress. Palmyra is currently governed as a territory by the United States Department of the Interior.All other U. S. territories except Palmyra are unincorporated (meaning that they are not fully part of the United States and that not all aspects of the United States Constitution automatically apply), whereas other former incorporated territories (excepting only Palmyra Island) are now states. While the District of Columbia functions similarly to an organized incorporated territory, it is governed by entirely different provisions of the United States Constitution as a federal district.
The following territories within the United States were officially organized by Congress with an Organic Act:
|Territory||Established||Ceased to exist|
|Northwest||July 13, 1787|
([http://memory.loc.gov/cgi-bin/ampage?collId=lljc&fileName=032/lljc032.db&recNum=343 C. Cong. 1787, 32:334])
|March 1, 1803, when its southeastern portion became the state of Ohio|
|Southwest||May 26, 1790|
(1 Stat. 123)
|June 1, 1796, when it became the state of Tennessee|
|Mississippi||April 7, 1798|
(1 Stat. 549)
|December 10, 1817, when its western half became the state of Mississippi|
|Indiana||July 4, 1800|
(2 Stat. 58)
|December 11, 1816, when its remaining southern portion became the state of Indiana|
|Orleans||October 1, 1804|
(2 Stat. 283)
|April 30, 1812, when it became the state of Louisiana|
|Michigan||June 30, 1805|
(2 Stat. 309)
|January 26, 1837, when its remaining two–peninsula extent became the State of Michigan|
|Louisiana||July 4, 1805|
(2 Stat. 331)
|June 4, 1812, when it was renamed Missouri Territory|
|Illinois||March 1, 1809|
(2 Stat. 514)
|December 3, 1818, when its southern portion became the State of Illinois|
|Missouri||June 4, 1812|
(2 Stat. 743)
|August 10, 1821, when its southeastern portion became the State of Missouri|
|Alabama||August 15, 1817|
(3 Stat. 371)
|December 14, 1819, when it became the state of Alabama|
|Arkansas||March 2, 1819|
(3 Stat. 493)
|June 15, 1836, when its remaining extent became the state of Arkansas|
|Florida||March 30, 1822|
(3 Stat. 654)
|March 3, 1845, when it became the state of Florida|
|Wisconsin||July 3, 1836|
(5 Stat. 10)
|May 29, 1848, when its eastern portion became the state of Wisconsin|
|Iowa||July 4, 1838|
(5 Stat. 235)
|December 28, 1846, when its southern portion became the state of Iowa|
|Oregon||August 14, 1848|
(9 Stat. 323)
|February 14, 1859, when its southwestern portion became the state of Oregon|
|Minnesota||March 3, 1849|
(9 Stat. 403)
|May 11, 1858, when its eastern portion became the state of Minnesota|
|New Mexico||September 9, 1850|
(9 Stat. 448)
|January 6, 1912, when its remaining extent became the state of New Mexico|
|Utah||September 9, 1850|
(9 Stat. 453)
|January 4, 1896, when its remaining extent became the state of Utah|
|Washington||March 2, 1853|
(10 Stat. 172)
|November 11, 1889, when its remaining extent became the state of Washington|
|Kansas||May 30, 1854|
(10 Stat. 277)
|January 29, 1861, when its eastern portion became the state of Kansas|
|Nebraska||May 30, 1854|
(10 Stat. 277)
|March 1, 1867, when its remaining extent became the state of Nebraska|
|Colorado||February 28, 1861|
(12 Stat. 172)
|August 1, 1876, when it became the state of Colorado|
|Nevada||March 2, 1861|
(12 Stat. 209)
|October 31, 1864, when it became the state of Nevada|
|Dakota||March 2, 1861|
(12 Stat. 239)
|November 2, 1889, when its remaining extent was split and became the states of North Dakota and South Dakota|
|Arizona||February 24, 1863|
(12 Stat. 664)
|February 14, 1912, when its remaining extent became the state of Arizona|
|Idaho||March 3, 1863|
(12 Stat. 808)
|July 3, 1890, when its remaining extent became the state of Idaho|
|Montana||May 26, 1864|
(13 Stat. 85)
|November 8, 1889, when it became the state of Montana|
|Wyoming||July 25, 1868|
(15 Stat. 178)
|July 10, 1890, when it became the state of Wyoming|
|Oklahoma||May 2, 1890|
(26 Stat. 81)
|November 16, 1907, when it was joined with the Indian Territory and became the state of Oklahoma|
|Hawaii||April 30, 1900|
(31 Stat. 141)
|August 21, 1959, when it became the state of Hawaii|
|Alaska||August 24, 1912|
(37 Stat. 512)
|January 3, 1959, when it became the state of Alaska|
Palmyra Atoll is one of the Northern Line Islands, located almost due south of the Hawaiian Islands, roughly one-third of the way between Hawaii and American Samoa. The nearest continent is almost 3,355 miles to the northeast. The atoll is 4.6 sq mi (12 km2), and it is located in the equatorial Northern Pacific Ocean. Its 9 mi (14 km) of coastline has one anchorage known as West Lagoon.
The United States Minor Outlying Islands are a statistical designation defined by the International Organization for Standardization's ISO 3166-1 code. The entry code is ISO 3166-2:UM. The minor outlying islands and groups of islands consist of eight United States insular areas in the Pacific Ocean and one in the Caribbean Sea.
A dependent territory, dependent area or dependency is a territory that does not possess full political independence or sovereignty as a sovereign state yet remains politically outside the controlling state's integral area.
In the United States, a territory is any extent of region under the sovereign jurisdiction of the federal government of the United States, including all waters and all U.S. naval vessels. The United States asserts sovereign rights for exploring, exploiting, conserving, and managing its territory. This extent of territory is all the area belonging to, and under the dominion of, the United States federal government for administrative and other purposes. The United States total territory includes a subset of political divisions.
In the United States, an unorganized territory is a region of land under U.S. Sovereignty that is not within the bounds of a U.S. state and that is without a government established by the United States Congress through an organic act. The term was historically applied either to a newly acquired region not yet constituted as an organized incorporated territory, or to a region previously part of an organized incorporated territory left "unorganized" after part of it had been organized and achieved the requirements for statehood. The U.S. currently exercises sovereignty over ten unorganized territories: American Samoa, Baker Island, Howland Island, Jarvis Island, Johnston Atoll, Kingman Reef, Midway Atoll, Navassa Island, Palmyra Atoll and Wake Island.
United States' territory is any extent of region under the sovereign jurisdiction of the federal government of the United States, including all waters and all U.S. naval vessels. The United States asserts sovereign rights for exploring, exploiting, conserving, and managing its territory. This extent of territory is all the area belonging to, and under the dominion of, the United States federal government for administrative and other purposes. The United States' total territory includes a subset of political divisions.
Political divisionsof the United States are the various recognized governing entities that together form the United States – states, the District of Columbia, territories and Indian reservations.
The Territory of Utah was an organized incorporated territory of the United States that existed from September 9, 1850, until January 4, 1896, when the final extent of the territory was admitted to the Union as the State of Utah, the 45th state.
An insular area of the United States is a U.S. territory that is neither a part of one of the 50 states nor of a Federal district. Article IV, Section 3, Clause 2 of the United States Constitution grants to United States Congress the responsibility of overseeing these territories, of which as of 2018 there are 14: three in the Caribbean Sea and 11 in the Pacific Ocean. These territories are classified by whether they are incorporated and whether they have an organized territorial government established by the U.S. Congress through an Organic Act. All territories but one are unincorporated, and all but four are considered to be unorganized. Five U.S. territories have a permanent, nonmilitary population. Each of them has a civilian government, a constitution, and enjoys some degree of local political autonomy.
Territories of the United States are sub-national administrative divisions overseen by the United States government. The various U.S. territories differ from the U.S. states and Native American tribes in that they are not sovereign entities. They are classified by incorporation and whether they have an "organized" government through an organic act passed by Congress. All U.S. territories are part of the United States, but the unincorporated territories are not considered to be integral parts of the United States, and the Constitution of the United States applies only partially in those territories.
In United States law, an organic act is an act of the United States Congress that establishes a territory of the United States and specifies how it is to be governed, or an agency to manage certain federal lands. In the absence of an organic law a territory is classified as unorganized.
The Insular Cases are a series of opinions by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1901, about the status of U.S. territories acquired in the Spanish–American War, and the periods shortly thereafter. When the war ended in 1898, the United States had to answer the question of whether or not people in newly acquired territories were citizens, a question the country had never faced before. The preliminary answer came from a series of Supreme Court rulings, now known as the Insular Cases, which responded to the question of how American constitutional rights apply to those in United States territories. The Supreme Court held that full constitutional protection of rights does not automatically extend to all places under American control. This meant that inhabitants of unincorporated territories such as Puerto Rico—"even if they are U.S. citizens"—may lack some constitutional rights. Today, many legal scholars refer to the Insular Cases as a constitutional justification for colonialism and annexation of places not within United States boundaries. The Insular Cases "authorized the colonial regime created by Congress, which allowed the United States to continue its administration—and exploitation—of the territories acquired from Spain after the Spanish–American War." These Supreme Court rulings allowed for the United States government to extend unilateral power over these newly acquired territories.
The Territory of Hawaii or Hawaii Territory was an organized incorporated territory of the United States that existed from April 30, 1900 until August 21, 1959, when most of its territory, excluding Palmyra Island and the Stewart Islands, was admitted to the Union as the fiftieth U.S. state, the State of Hawaii. The Hawaii Admission Act specified that the State of Hawaii would not include the distant Palmyra Island, the Midway Islands, Kingman Reef, and Johnston Atoll, which includes Johnston Island and Sand Island, and the Act was silent regarding the Stewart Islands.
The Admission Act, formally An Act to Provide for the Admission of the State of Hawaii into the Union is a statute enacted by the United States Congress and signed into law by President Dwight D. Eisenhower which dissolved the Territory of Hawaii and established the State of Hawaii as the 50th state to be admitted into the Union. Statehood became effective on August 21, 1959. Hawaii remains the most recent state to join the United States.
In the United States, each state has its own written constitution.
Under United States law, an unincorporated territory is an area controlled by the United States government that is not "incorporated" for the purposes of United States constitutional law. In unincorporated territories, the U.S. Constitution applies only partially. In the absence of an organic law, a territory is classified as unorganized. In unincorporated territories, "fundamental rights apply as a matter of law, but other constitutional rights are not available". Selected constitutional provisions apply, depending on congressional acts and judicial rulings according to U.S. constitutional practice, local tradition, and law.
In the United States, a state is a constituent political entity, of which there are currently 50. Bound together in a political union, each state holds governmental jurisdiction over a separate and defined geographic territory and shares its sovereignty with the federal government. Due to this shared sovereignty, Americans are citizens both of the federal republic and of the state in which they reside. State citizenship and residency are flexible, and no government approval is required to move between states, except for persons restricted by certain types of court orders.
The Admission to the Union Clause of the United States Constitution, often called the New States Clause, found at Article IV, Section 3, Clause 1, authorizes the Congress to admit new states into the United States beyond the thirteen already in existence at the time the Constitution went into effect.