Flags of the United States: Twenty-Fourth U.S. Flag, July 4, 1908
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Flags of the United States: Twenty-Fourth U.S. Flag, July 4, 1908


By Jon R. Warren

The admission of Oklahoma to the Union on November 16, 1907, caused the raising of a new forty-six star flag on July 4, 1908. The new stars and stripes flew for four years. 

The history of the United States in this period is mostly the history of the failure of theodore Roosevelt's "progressive" Republican policies. Roosevelt hand-picked his successor, William Howard Taft, whocs inagural ball is shown in the illustration. Taft did not have the personality to carry through the reforms initiated by his predecessor. Having alienated his Republican supporters and having failed to bring the country out of a minor slump, he was defeated in the election of 1912 by the Democratic candidate woodrow Wilson

The intrepid explorer robert E. Peary captured public attention with his discovery of the North Pole on April 6, 1909. Peary had made two previous attempts to reach the North Pole, but  each time was forced to turn back before attaining his goal. In 1908 he again started over the ice from his base on Ellesmere Island. As supplies dwindled, one after another of his party turned back. Finally only Peary, his black colleague Mathew Henson and four Eskimos remained. They reached latitude 89 degrees 57 minutes, actually within sight of the Pole, but were too exhausted to continue. Peary refused to accept defeat and, after resting for a few hours, pushed on to his objective. Contrary to scientific theory accepted at the time, his soundings proved that the sea around the North Pole is not shallow. Three centuries of Arctic exploration were climaxed when peary cabled, "stars and stripes nailed to the North Pole."

When the forty-six star flag was raised, there remained within the contiguous borders of the United States but two territories which had not become states. Limited population growth in these two territories. Arizona and New Mexico, was one of the reason for their late admission as states. Although attempts had been made in the late 1800s to admit Arizona as a state, Congress failed to act. In both 1905 and 1906 bills were brought before Congress providing for Arizona and New Mexico to be admitted as a single large state, but Arizona voters rejected the proposal Statehood for Arizona was further delayed in 1911 when president Taft vetoed its admission because he objected to a clause in the proposed state constitution. Arizona finally became a state on February 14, 1912, after its constitution had been revised. New Mexico had already become a state on January 6. The forty-six star flag was duly lowered on July 3, 1912.


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