Between 1880 and 1890 the population of Wyoming had increased from 20,789 to 62,555. In 1888 the territorial legislature requested that Congress pass legislation enabling the territory to draw up a constitution and apply for statehood. Such bills were introduced in Congress, but no action was taken. The territorial legislature, through the urging of territorial governor Francis Emory Warren and the territorial delegate to Congress Joseph M. Carey, authorized a constitutional convention in 1889. The convention, held in September 1889, drafted a state constitution. Some delegates at the convention were concerned that the territory’s legislation allowing women’s suffrage might deter Wyoming’s chances for statehood. Nonetheless, delegates elected to guarantee women the right to vote in the state constitution. Most of the articles to the constitution were drawn from constitutions of other states. The constitution, however, also included an article granting the state ownership and control of all waters in Wyoming.
On November 5, 1889, Wyoming voters approved the constitution at a special election with a low percentage of voter turnout. There was, however, some opposition in Congress to Wyoming’s admission as a state. Among the arguments raised were claims that the territory’s population was still too small to merit statehood, objections to the women’s suffrage provision, and opposition to a constitutional clause making education free and compulsory for children. Nevertheless, on July 10, 1890, Wyoming became the 44th state of the Union. Cheyenne, the largest city in the new state, continued to serve as its capital. Republican Francis Warren, who had become territorial governor in 1889, was the state’s first governor. Republican Joseph Carey became the state’s first U.S. senator. In 1890 Warren was also nominated to serve as senator from Wyoming. His former position was taken by Amos W. Barber, who served as acting governor until 1893. "Wyoming" © Emmanuel BUCHOT, Encarta, Wikipedia.
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