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Monday of December, 1841. Governor Chambers accepted this conclusion, and moved the seat of government to the temporary capitol building provided by the citizens of Iowa City, until the permanent buildings being erected should be completed. Thus Iowa City became the permanent capital of the Territory and the temporary capital of the State.
29. The Land Claim Laws.—The United States has uniformly prevented the White man from invading the Indian country and settling upon the lands previous to the going into effect of a treaty. There was no attempt after that to exclude settlers, but no right nor title to lands was recognized as being able to be secured until the lands were surveyed and advertised for sale at public auction. A pre-emption or exclusive right to purchase public lands could not be acquired until after the lands had thus been offered and not sold for want of bidders. Then, and not until then, could an occupant, making improvements in good faith, acquire a right over others to enter the land at a minimum price of $1.25 per acre. The claim laws were unknown to the United States statutes or courts. They originated in the eternal fitness of things, and were enforced, probably, as belonging to that class of natural rights not enumerated in the constitution and not impaired or disparaged by its enumeration.
30. Organization of the Settlers. The settlers organized in in every settlement
settlement prior to the public-land sales, appointed officers, and adopted their own rules and regulations. Each man's claim was duly ascertained and recorded by the secretary. It was the Juty of all to attend the sales. The secretary bid off
the land of each settler at $1.25 an acre. The others were there to see, first, that he did his duty and bid in the land, and, secondly, to see that no one else bid. This, of course, sometimes led to trouble, but it saved the excitement of competition and gave a formality and degree of order and regularity to the proceedings that would not otherwise have obtained. As far as practicable, the Territorial legislatures recognized the validity of these “claims” upon the public lands, and in 1839 passed an act legalizing their sale and making their transfer a valid consideration to support a promise to pay for the same. (Acts of 1843, page 456.) The Supreme Territorial Court held this law valid. (1. Morris, 70.) It was not, therefore, a personally safe business for speculators or new residents to attend the land sales and offer to bid in the lands offered at auction as the laws of the United States intended, and the original squatters obtained the lands thus purchased if they paid the nominal price of $1.25 allowed by law. However, many were never able to pay for their lands, and soon moved on to make new claims where the surveys were not yet completed.
QUESTIONS AND TOPICS. 1. What is an organic act? Why was so much power granted the governor? What is a city charter? Why were ferry rights and other grants so injurious to the public?
2. What was the final effect upon Iowa of this controversy with the governor? What is “Home Rule”??
3. What is an extra session of the Legislature? How called?
4. What is the effect of a change of President upon the territories and public offices ?
STEPS TO STATEHOOD
The Recommendation of the Governor.Governor Lucas, in his message to the extra session of the legislature, in 1839, recommended that the necessary steps be taken to secure the admission of the Territory to the Union as a State. This opinion was approved by a majority of that legislature, and in July, 1840, an act was passed, providing for a popular expression on the desirability of this step. At the October elections of that year, a vote was taken on the proposition, resulting in the people rejecting it by a large majority. The issue turned mainly on the point of expense, it being supposed that a State government would be more costly to the citizens, since the Territorial government was in part maintained by the General government. At the next session of the legislature, in 1841-42, a similar act was passed, and this again was rejected by the people at the succeeding August election. Another legislative act of the same nature was passed February 12, 1844, submitting the question to the people at the ensuing April election. This time the proposition was received with less opposition, and a majority vote favored a constitutional convention and the preparing of the Territory for application to be admitted to the Union.
32. The First Constitutional Convention. In pursuance of the settled policy to seek statehood, del
egates to a constitutional convention were elected in August, and the convention assembled in Iowa City, October 7, 1844. This convention agreed upon a constitution, and submitted the same to Congress for approval. This was at a time when there was much controversy in the United States Congress over the admission of States to the Union, since every new State was likely to disturb the balance of power that existed between the North and the South, between slave States and free States. The admission of Iowa was therefore resisted by the South because it would become a free State; besides the proposed area was too large to suit certain congressmen from the North who were desirous of making as many free States as possible, which would soon give to the free States the control of the United States Senate, and thus restrict the slave power of the South. Through these two causes the action of Congress was delayed until March 3, 1845, when a compromise was made and a joint bill passed admitting Florida in the South and Iowa in the North. The act as passed modified the boundaries of the State of Iowa submitted by the first constitutional convention, and again aroused controversies that delayed the actual admission of Iowa to the Union until December 28, 1846.
33. The Iowa Boundary Question.—The boundaries of the proposed new State of Iowa as adopted by the first constitutional convention, were as follows: “Beginning in the middle of the main channel of the Mississippi river opposite the mouth of the Des Moines river; thence up the said river Des Moines, in the middle of the main channel thereof, to a point where it is intersected by the Old Indian Boundary Line,' or
the line run by John C. Sullivan in the year 1816; thence westwardly along said line to the Old Northwest Corner of Missouri;' thence due west to the middle of the main channel of Missouri river; thence up the middle of main channel of the river last mentioned to the mouth of the Sioux or Calumet river; thence in a direct line to the middle of the main channel of the St. Peter's (Minnesota) river, where the Watonwan river (according to Nicollet's map) enters the same; thence down the middle of the main channel of said river to the middle of the main channel of the Mississippi river; thence down the middle of the main channel of said river to the place of beginning.'
34. The Act of Congress.-The change made by Congress curtailed the proposed constitutional territory on the west by selecting the meridian drawn seventeen degrees and thirty minutes west of the meridian of Washington, as the western boundary, and leaving the others as already determined. This gave a boundary that would be located now very near the present boundary between Ringgold and Taylor counties on the south and Kossuth and Emmet counties on the north.
35. The View of the People. The constitution as amended by Congress was voted upon by the people at the following April election. The party controversy became most intense and the boundary question was the principal discussion, though there were other parts of the constitution that were regarded as objectionable to large numbers of electors. The Whigs mainly insisted on rejecting statehood under these conditions; and the Democrats asserted that a