Utah's passage to statehood was long and eventful. Because of the Mormon's early belief in polygamous marriage and their self-exile from the rest of country, eastern politicians were wary of those "unpredictable" citizens. Early Mormon pioneers formed a political government which functioned as the State of Deseret between 1849-70, but their petitions for statehood were denied. In 1850, an "outside" form of government was imposed on the area by federal officials. A governor was sent to the new territory, called Utah, to oversee law and order.
It took almost fifty years for lawmakers to admit Utah as an official member of the union. During that time Mormon leaders officially outlawed polygamy. In the autumn of 1895 a constitution was approved, which included granting women the right to vote (one of the first such concessions in the nation). Several months later, on January 4, 1896, Utah was admitted as the 45th state in the union.
Information courtesy of the Governor's Office.
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