Creating Alaska
Prominent Alaskan leaders witness the signing of the Alaska Statehood Proclamation by President Eisenhower on January 3, 1959. Second row, from the left: Congressman-Elect Ralph Rivers, Senator-Elect Ernest Gruening, Senator-Elect Bob Bartlett, Secretary of the Interior Fred Seaton, Secretary of Alaska Waino Hendrickson, Unknown, Territorial Governor of Alaska Mike Stepovich & Bob Atwood, Chairman of the Alaska Statehood Committee. First Row, seated: Vice President Richard Nixon, President Dwight D. Eisenhower and Speaker of the House Sam Rayburn.

I want to say...that your work is being watched by not only the Congress of the United States, but by our 165 millions of people. Despite the objections that have come from some people to statehood, I think the overwhelming proportion of the American people expect, and I think ultimately they will demand that both Alaska and Hawaii become states of the American union. Anything I can do in my individual capacity or in my capacity as a minority leader of the Senate of the United States to expedite that day... I will be prepared to do. I think of no pledge we might take as American citizens better than the pledge of Thomas Jefferson, the great architect of the Declaration of Independence, who said, "I have sworn upon the altar of God eternal hostility on every form of tyranny over the minds of man."

-Senator William K. Knowland of California to the Delegates of the Alaska Constitutional Convention

Back to Top