Happy 50th birthday, Alaska

The long road to statehood

By Megan Otts

For many Alaskans, admission of the state into the Union in 1959 represented the end of a long, hard-fought battle to be considered first-class citizens in America.

As a civil district and later a territory, Alaska had been under the direct control of the United States federal government since 1867, but was denied the rights and privileges conferred upon states, such as having a voting member in Congress. The territorial government also had little influence over decisions regarding federal funding and resource allocation, though the federal government regulated many of the region’s natural resources, like its fish and game.

In a 1946 Alaska Statehood Association publication, Judge Anthony Dimond said, “With statehood, Alaska is no longer a beggar at the national table but a recognized member of the household, eligible to share in all the benefits and all the responsibilities of the nation.”

During the golden anniversary of the admission of the 49th state, we celebrate the decades-long struggle for Alaska statehood.