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North and South Dakota used to form the Dakota Territory.In the 20th Century Oklahoma, New Mexico, Arizona, Hawaii and Alaska all made the jump from territory to state.The creation of territories is addressed in the constitution and is a power given to congress.
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Other parts of the series will examine the status of Dutch, British and French territories.
The United States came to the colonization game rather late.
By the time of the presidency of William Mc Kinley, the world had already been carved up by European powers.
Today the United States has long since given up its hopes of becoming a colonial empire, but it still holds on to many pieces of its early 20th Century attempt to become one.
The story of the US Territories is one of the least known and most interesting parts of American history. Ever since independence the United States has had areas which were not states but were fully part of the country.
Most states, outside of the original 13, were territories before they became states.
The states of Wisconsin, Minnesota and Illinois were created from Northwestern Territory.
With a strong desire to prove itself as the equal to Britain and France, the US closed out the 19th Century by engaging in a war with Spain that took from her the last of her colonies.
It turned out that US wasn’t very good at being a colonial power.
A former colony herself, it had neither the stomach or long term desire for hold colonies.
Its largest colony, The Philippines, was given independence 40 years after it had been ceded from Spain, and it would have been granted independence even sooner if it hadn’t been for WWII.