After the 1867 purchase of Alaska, the United States government paid little attention to the land and its people. There was no government for many years.
Most Alaska Natives were not affected by the purchase from the Russians and went on living their lives as they always had.
The first steps by the United States to extend government to Alaska occurred because of gold discoveries in Southeast in the 1880s.
Alaska had no elected representation until 1906 when it gained a non-voting delegate to Congress.
Alaska gained some self-government with the creation of the territorial legislature in 1912. The federal government had the most say about what happened until Alaska became a state.
The absentee control of mining and fishing in Alaska was a major sore point for a long time in territorial Alaska.
During World War II Anchorage emerged as the main economic and population center. Becoming a state became a popular cause.
Alaskans wrote the constitution for the state of Alaska before statehood was approved, hoping that it would show they were ready to join the Union.
Alaska became the 49th state in 1959. It was the first time Alaskans could vote for president, governor and had a voting delegation in the U.S. Congress and an elected governor.
The state constitution created a strong chief executive--the governor.
The constitution provides for two types of local government--cities and boroughs.
There are many options for citizens to find out about government actions and to stay involved.