Centennial of New Mexico Statehood


The Federal Presence in New Mexico: Statehood to 1945

Following sixty-two years as a federal territory, New Mexico became a state on January 6, 1912. Given New Mexico’s long tenure as a U.S. territory and the important roles the government fulfilled after statehood, the topic of federal presence in New Mexico links past to present. But the activities of the federal government are merely the entry point, a framework. A dynamic exchange existed between laws and policies created in Washington, D.C. and their application in New Mexico. Understanding the actions of citizens as well as communities permits us to see how circumstances and conditions in New Mexico had an impact on—and even changed—the federal government’s presence over time.

These brief historical accounts and accompanying scans are intended for a general interest readership. They seek to reveal the very human—and therefore complicated and at times conflicting—aspirations and expectations behind ideas and events that help mold the state in the twentieth century.

The entries are fragments of a larger narrative about twentieth-century New Mexico. During the Centennial of Statehood in 2012, I plan to publish the full version in a book examining the federal presence in New Mexico from 1900 to 2000. Until the book appears, though, this website presents drafts of topical selections. Between the summers of 2008 and 2010, over seventy entries will be posted on these subjects (listed in order of appearance): Oil and the Federal Presence; World War I; Attaining Statehood; The Progressive Era; The 1920s; The Great Depression; World War II.

The Centennial of New Mexico Statehood is a public service project of the Center for Regional Studies at the University of New Mexico’s Zimmerman Library. One mission of the Center for Regional Studies is to create new sources of knowledge about New Mexico, and these essays seek to do so. All historical interpretations are solely those of the author, Dr. David V. Holtby, and are derived independent of any official positions of either the Center for Regional Studies or the University of New Mexico. To promote accessibility for nonspecialists, the entries remove all scholarly citations. A list of sources, both archival and published, is found for each topic in the entry “On Your Own.” Comments and queries can be addressed to dholtby@unm.edu.




Oil and the Federal Presence in New Mexico, David V. Holtby


Overview of the Federal Presence in New Mexico 1900-1945, David V. Holtby


Statehood Era and the Federal Presence, Part 1, David V. Holtby


World War I and the Federal Presence in New Mexico, David V. Holtby