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Just because President Roosevelt made Oklahoma a state doesn't mean he liked it



At 9:16 a.m. Oklahoma time on Nov. 16, 1907, President Theodore Roosevelt signed the proclamation that declared Oklahoma a state of the union.

What may not be so well-known is that Roosevelt signed the proclamation while wincing in mental anguish over doing so. According to historians, Roosevelt had trepidation over the state's constitution when it was presented to him in Washington, D.C. He intended to sign the document, but that did not mean he endorsed it.

So, what was his problem?

"I think basically Roosevelt didn't like it because Democrats had written the (state) constitution, and he was trying to find some reason to kick it back," said University of Oklahoma history professor William Savage Jr. "It's not that he was against statehood. He was like the Republican members of Congress trying to figure out a way to delay statehood until such time a Republican Party was strong enough to maintain itself in the state."

While the Republican Party had dominated national politics since the end of the Civil War, as more and more territories were admitted as states, Democrats gained in numbers. Almost every president since Abraham Lincoln had been Republican, but a growing number of new states were populated with Southern Democrats.

"I think it has to do with the places from which people came," Savage said. "If they were coming out of the South, they're Democrats." "Scott Cooper


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