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Alaska Achieves Statehood

The Alaska Statehood Bill was passed by the U.S. Congress by a vote of 64 to 20 on June 20, 1958.

Citizens of Fairbanks celebrate congressional approval of Alaskan statehood, on June 30.
Fairbanks celebrating statehood

Mike Stepovich, Alaska's Territorial Governor, shows a "We're In" headline to President Eisenhower and Secretary of the Interior Seaton.
We're In

President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed the bill on July 7.

President Eisenhower signs the Alaska Statehood Bill.
President Eisenhower signing the Alaska Statehood Bill

On August 26 a record 35,000 Alaskans voted for admission as the 49th state and allotted the use of 260,600 square miles for federal defense installations.

Alaskans cast their ballots in their first state elections on November 25. Democrats won every major contest.

Alaskan Democrats campaigned by float plane to scattered villages. Shown are, from left, William Egan (for Governor), Ernest Gruening (for U.S. Senator), and Morgan Reed (for State Legislator).
campaigning Democrats

Alaskans vote in their first state elections.
Alaskans voting

Alaska was formally admitted as the 49th state on January 3, 1959; Governor William A. Egan and Secretary of State Hugh J. Wade assumed office at that time. The Democrat-controlled state legislature (33 Democrats, 5 Republicans, and 2 Independents in the House; 18 Democrats and 2 Republicans in the Senate) convened on January 26 for an 81-day session that dealt primarily with the organization of the state government.

A bronze medal commemorating the admission of Alaska shows a map of Alaska superimposed on the continental United States and the date of its formal admission.
statehood medal

See Also

President Dwight D. Eisenhower

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The Robinson Library >> Alaska

This page was last updated on December 10, 2018.