Admission of New States

March 20, 1946

Report Outline
Postwar Status of American Dependencies
Process of Admission to the Union
Conflicts Over Admission of New States
Question of Statehood for Overseas Territories
Special Focus

Postwar Status of American Dependencies

THE Commonwealth of the Philippines will become an independent nation, July 4, 1946, under the terms of the Tydings-McDuffie Act, passed by Congress in 1934. Three other territorial possessions of the United States are at present seeking a new status within the American Union. A bill to admit the Hawaiian Islands as the 49th state is pending before the House Committee on Territories, with a favorable report from a subcommittee which surveyed conditions in Hawaii early in 1946. A referendum in Alaska in October will determine whether that territory shall make formal application for statehood. And President Truman has recommended to Congress that it authorize a plebiscite in Puerto Rico to pass upon the future status of that American dependency.

The Constitution sets out only a few requirements to be met by a territory which seeks to become a state, but others may be prescribed by Congress, which has the sole power to admit or to refuse admission to the Union. Many of the requirements imposed in the past are inapplicable today, but new sets of conditions may be formulated for the admission of territories not a part of the continental United States.

Response to Aspirations for Self-Government

Demands for change in the political status of American dependencies are nowhere as violent as those that have arisen since World War II in the colonies of European powers. A definite date for separation of the Philippines from the United States had been fixed before the war, and the American system provides adequate means of meeting the postwar aspirations of other overseas possessions.

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Puerto Rico and other Territories