Documents Leading to Statehood

This list provided by the work of State Librarian the Hon.Mulford Winsor.

1787

Document Type: Ordinances

The Avalon Project at Yale Law School provides a transcription of the Northwest Ordinance. This created a legal structure within which the inhabitants of lands outside of the 13 original states could operate, outlined the steps to form territorial governments and the means by which new states could be admitted to the Union.

1846

Document Type: Acts

In December 1845, the U.S. Congress voted to annex the Texas Republic which Mexico considered to be its territory and, after border skirmishes, Congress declared war on Mexico on May 13, 1846.  Brigadier General Stephen W. Kearny was sent with troops to secure New Mexico, Chihuahua, and California.

Document Type: Ordinances

The New Mexico Office of the State Historian provides this transcription of the Bill of Rights For the Territory of New Mexico [Currently unavailable] as declared by Brigadier General Stephen W. Kearny, September 22, 1846.

Document Type: Ordinances

The Avalon Project at Yale Law School provides a transcription of the Laws for the Government of the Territory of New Mexico dated September 22, 1846 also known as the Kearny Code.  An explanation of the international law at the time relating to conquest of land through war and treaties that follows are in two U.S. Supreme Court cases:  Leitensdorfer v. Webb 61 U.S. 176 (1857) and  Fleming v. Page, 50 U.S. 603 (1850).

1848

Document Type: Treaties

This Library of Congress site has links to pages from the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, signed February 2, 1848 which brought an end to the war between the United States and Mexico. 525,000 square miles were ceded to the United States, including parts of present-day Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, and Utah.

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