New PDF release: Alaska State Government & Politics (Alaska Historical

By Gerald McBeath

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Page 7 The Army Takes Over Seward arranged for the War Department to occupy Alaska until Congress provided a civil government. In the meantime, Alaska was designated a district and not a territory. The difference between the two was that a territory had a representative assembly whereas a district did not. The constitution gave Congress plenary power over Alaska, as it did over all other United States territories. " Therefore, on July 27, 1868 Congress extended the customs, commerce, and navigation laws of the United States to Alaska, and designated it as a customs collection district.

In the absence of civil government, the Army officers, in effect, became Alaska's governors. Army officials also concerned themselves with Page 8 Indian affairs, maintaining peace with the Natives of southeastern Alaska. Congress had designated the district "Indian Country," a designation that allowed the Army to keep the Natives from consuming alcohol. Enforcing the liquor prohibition therefore constituted the primary administrative problem for Alaska's military commanders. They generally failed.

Nome became Alaska's largest city, with nearly 10,000 settlers in 1898-99. Juneau and Fairbanks received their first spurts of' growth as mining towns at about the same time. Alaska's marine resources attracted attention from fish canners, and these interests, although not physically resident in Alaska, exercised control over territorial policy. The same was true of companies. exploiting Page xviii wood products in the territory. Logging and fishing were also responsible for the growth of communities of white settlers in southeast Alaska.

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Alaska State Government & Politics (Alaska Historical Commission Studies in History) by Gerald McBeath


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