The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 74, July 1970 - April, 1971

Book Reviews
New Mexico's Quest for Statehood, i846-I912. By Robert W. Larson.
(Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1968. Pp.
vii + 405. Bibliography, index. $xo.oo.)
New Mexico almost achieved statehood between 1847 and 1850,
came close to being admitted with Colorado in the 1870's, and car-
ried on a heroic ten-year battle with senatorial opponents of state-
hood before being admitted in 1912. In this volume Robert Larson
traces in great detail these major efforts as well as many minor ones.
The account is so comprehensive that it also becomes a fairly com-
plete political history of New Mexico during the territorial period.
Most students of New Mexican history will discover that when
local events are being discussed Larson's version is a familiar one. Still
his ability to handle the history of the complicated political infighting
which has always characterized New Mexican politics, and his careful
relating of New Mexican problems to national events is impressive.
Some of his interpretations and explanations are new, and several
political figures, such as Governor Marsh Giddings and Delegate
Harvey Fergusson, are depicted as playing a more positive role in
the statehood fight than they have been in previous histories. If Lar-
son has a bias it is hard to find. Neither the Santa Fe Ring nor that
arch villain, Senator Albert Beveridge, who held up statehood for
so many years, becomes a whipping boy.
The efforts to gain statehood between 1847 and the Compromise
of 1850 have been the subject of studies by R. E. Twitchell, W. A.
Keleher, and many others. Larson adds to these by treating more fully
the Texas demands for eastern New Mexico, by relating New Mexico's
statehood drive to that of California in 1849 and 1850, and by concen-
trating on the day-to-day congressional arguments over admission. The
book deserves great praise, in fact, for its extended coverage of the
history of New Mexican affairs in Washington.
Larson feels that the chances of statehood were minimal for some
years after 185o because of political factionalism among the Anglos,
Anglo contempt for Hispanos, and local fights over Catholicism and

Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 74, July 1970 - April, 1971. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. Accessed August 30, 2015.