Alaska and Hawaii Gain Statehood (Great Events from History: North American Series)
Article abstract: The United States grows economically with the addition of two Pacific Rim states and new ethnic cultures.
Summary of Event
The admission of Alaska and Hawaii into the Union in 1959 vastly extended the physical boundaries of the United States, adding considerably to U.S. influence throughout the Pacific. Alaska’s 586,000 square miles of tundra, mountains, and lakes added an extraordinary wilderness to the lower forty-eight states, as well as rich fishing grounds, oil and gas reserves, and a strategic defense perimeter in both the Eastern and Western Hemispheres. Hawaii, a far-flung archipelago of astonishing tropical beauty, added a predominantly Asian American and Polynesian population and culture to the social fabric of the United States’ mainland civilization.
The protracted struggle for admission represented a triumph of tolerance and assimilation over the xenophobic objections of some members of Congress who feared that “racial impurity” would result from granting citizenship to Alaska’s Aleuts, Tlingits, and Eskimos, and especially to the Japanese, Chinese, and Filipinos of Hawaii. By granting statehood to Alaska and Hawaii, the United States extended its borders to noncontiguous territories originally peopled by ancient migrations of Asians and Polynesians.
Anthropologists widely concur that people migrated from Asia to Alaska across a land bridge spanning the...
(The entire section is 2704 words.)
Want to Read More?
Subscribe now to read the rest of this article. Plus get complete access to 30,000+ study guides!