Because Alaska was admitted before July 4, 1959, and Hawaii was admitted after July 4, 1959, the 49-star flag existed from 7/4/1959 to 7/3/1960. By waving it tonight, conservatives can show solidarity with Sarah Palin of Alaska while simultaneously rallying against Barack Obama of Hawaii. This is not, in any way, meant to be anti-Hawaiian, but apparently, Obama would be ok with it if it was, so may as well let ‘em fly!
Tonight, the first Alaskan nominee for either President or VP, Sarah Palin, will be giving her acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention. Tomorrow, the second Arizonan, John McCain, will do the same, and last week, the first Hawaiian, Barack Obama, did so at the DNC. In a remarkable show of American Manifest Destiny, the 48th, 49th, and 50th states are all represented in the POTUS/VP nomination slots of the two major parties. Interestingly enough, the very first state under our Constitution, Delaware, is home to the Democratic VP nominee, Joe Biden.
This is of huge historic significance because it fulfills the current expansion of the United States, forcing us to wonder what might come next. In 1824, Andrew Jackson ran as the first “Western” candidate, from the “frontier” state of Tennessee, but even Tennessee was not as far west as neighboring Missouri, which was already a state at the time. Jackson lost in 1824 but won in 1828. Not for another 100 years would a President have serious ties to a state farther west; Herbert Hoover was elected in 1928, the first President to call a state west of the Mississippi River “home” (California and Iowa). At the time, Arizona and Hawaii were not states, so when Hoover won, he fulfilled American expansionism by representing the westernmost state of California. Moreover, Hoover’s VP, Charles Curtis of Kansas, was also the first VP west of the great river.
Now, we find ourselves choosing a President between the last of the “Lower 48” states and the last overall state without a clear 51st state on the horizon. In fact, America is in the longest new-state-drought of its history at just over 49 years. With Puerto Rican referendums failing to gain enough momentum and the complacency of the status quo with Washington, DC, we may just stay here for a while.
My Point: Alaska calls itself “The Last Frontier” … is it? So often, we hear of American history as defined by the concept of the frontier, but we are now in a world where our territories are small in size and number, there are no real “colonies” to be had, and most territorial disputes turn into multi-national wars. As a result, our expansionism has turned from gaining land to protecting and spreading democracy, but even that can only go so far. Though there is still a lot of work to do at home, I maintain that at some point in this Century, the frontier-minded United States will have to ask itself, “What now?”
President Eisenhower was the last President to usher in new states. He did this for three- Ohio, Alaska, and Hawaii. In 1953, it was discovered that although President Thomas Jefferson signed a bill approving the application of Ohio, Congress never officially admitted the state outright. On August 7, 1953, Eisenhower signed a retroactive Congressional bill, making Ohio the official 17th state.
DONT GIVE UP THE SHIP.
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