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Iowa Government is Formed

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Time Frame: 1838

Iowa appointed a territorial governor, Robert Lucas, in 1838.
“The Path to Statehood,” The Iowa Heritage: Program # 3, Iowa Public Television, 1978.

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Transcript

The creation of the Territory of Iowa meant that Iowa now had its own framework of government. For one thing, it had a representative in Congress: could not vote, but could voice the opinions and interests of the Territory. Secondly, Iowa had a Territorial Governor. The man chosen for this position was Robert Lucas. He had a great deal of power over the Territorial Government. He could pardon criminals. He was Commander-in-Chief of the militia. He appointed all law officers, judicial officials and surveyors. He was superintendent of Indian Affairs in the Territory. And most important, nothing could become law without his approval. Lucas had served as both a Legislature and Governor of the state of Ohio. This experience plus his strong will and high moral character made him well suited to his job. The Territorial Government also included a two House Assembly. With a Council of 13 members and a House of 26 members. In contrast to Governor Lucas, the members of the Territorial Government were just about as green as they come—the majority of them having no political experience at all.

 


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