The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 78, July 1974 - April, 1975 Page: 223
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in Washington on the history of the territories of the United States. At the
meeting, a selected group of historians presented professional papers, dis-
cussed research needs and problems, and heard government archivists com-
ment on the variety of territorial materials available in federal depositories.
The success of the gathering was due largely to John Porter Bloom, editor of
the ongoing Territorial Papers series, who organized and directed the affair.
Under Bloom's able hand, thirteen of the papers have been edited and pub-
lished in a volume entitled The American Territorial System. The result is
a perceptive survey of the origins, nature, and evolution of America's
The book may be divided into three sections: introductory material,
papers (several have critical comments appended; most have a discussion
of additional manuscript sources), and a collection of short biographies of
the program participants. Philip D. Jordan and Harold W. Ryan open the
volume with laudatory remarks about Clarence Carter, the initial editor
of the Territorial Papers, who defined, influenced, and actively promoted
the study of American territorial history. In the first two formal papers,
Arthur Bestor discusses the constitutional foundations and Robert Berk-
hofer comments on the Republican nature of the Northwest Ordinance of
1787. Next, Jo Tice Bloom and Robert W. Johannsen examine the voice
of the territories in Congress-the former focusing on the territorial dele-
gate, the latter on Stephen A. Douglas as chairman of the Senate Commit-
tee on Territories. In the section on territorial courts, John D. W. Guice,
portrays western judges as generally able and innovative; while William
L. Knecht takes a different tack, pointing to the political hacks that sat on
the Utah bench. Thomas G. Alexander evaluates the federal land survey
system and Kenneth Owens analyzes territorial political groupings. Robert
W. Larson characterizes New Mexico's last years as a territory, and Robert
R. Robbins discusses the non-contiguous colonial empire in the twentieth
century. Harrison Loesch of the Interior Department closes the volume with
a status report on the United States dependencies at present.
As is true of any conference, the papers vary in scope and quality. In
general, those discussing the territories from the federal point of view
present stronger cases than those dealing with the local scene. All appear
to be soundly researched-although one might question Owen's comment
(p. 171) that N. O. Murphy in 1885 promoted "an anti-Apache Indian re-
moval movement" in Arizona. Murphy went to Arizona in 1883 and ob-
jected (later) more to Mormons than Apaches. Viewed collectively, the
papers suggest new areas for further study, but an essay pinpointing research
topics would have been very useful. An index also would have been helpful.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 78, July 1974 - April, 1975, periodical, 1974/1975; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth117149/m1/258/: accessed July 28, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.