History Units
  - Geography
  - Alaska's Cultures
  - Russia's Colony
  - America's Territory
  - Governing Alaska
  - Modern Alaska

Related Stories
  - 40 Years of Statehood (video)
  - Adventures in the AK Economy

Field Trips
  - Tour the State Capitol (video)
  - Interview with a Historical Researcher (video)

In the News
  - Struggling to become an American

Teacher's Guide

Regional History
Governing Alaska
Enduring Understandings and Essential Questions

Enduring Understandings

Essential Questions

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.

  1. After the purchase of Alaska, what type of government existed?

  2. Why did the federal government begin to pay more attention to Alaska?

  3. Beginning in the early 1900s Alaska had a delegate to Congress. That delegate lacked one important ability? What was it?

  4. Explain ways in which the territorial Legislature was weak.

  5. What was the first law approved by the first Alaska Legislature?

  6. How did federal agencies hold power in the Territory of Alaska?

  7. When were Native Alaskans accorded their rights as citizens?

  8. What did E.L. "Bob" Bartlett and Ernest Gruening have in common?

  9. When and where did Alaskans write their constitution?

  10. What are some of the most important things to know about Alaska's constitution?

  11. Who was the first elected governor of Alaska?

  12. What are the forms of local government in Alaska?

  13. What are tribal governments?

  14. How does the system of checks and balances work in Alaska government?

  15. How does a bill become law in Alaska?


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