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Louisiana Purchase Treaty

October 20

The Louisiana Purchase Treaty was approved by the United States Senate. The United States acquired nearly 800,000 square miles of land in this deal, including all of the future state of Oklahoma except for the panhandle.


Adams-Onis Treaty

March 3

The Senate approved the Adams-Onis Treaty with Spain establishing Oklahoma as the southwestern border of the United States. The treaty was meant to resolve a dispute between Spain and the United States as to the amount of territory the United States had acquired from France in the Louisiana Purchase. In addition, Spain agreed to cede Florida to the United States.


Trail of Tears


The Senate passed the Indian Removal Act, which forced the Cherokee, Creek, Seminole, Choctaw, and Chickasaw Indians, known as the Five Civilized Tribes, out of their lands east of the Mississippi River and into the west. In what came to be known as the Trail of Tears, federal troops marched the Indians into the eastern part of the future state of Oklahoma for permanent settlement.



The Senate passed legislation establishing the Indian Territory in much of what is today known as Oklahoma. The Five Civilized Tribes are now represented on the state flag of Oklahoma.


January 29

Senator Henry Clay’s Compromise of 1850 established the northern border of Texas, which would become the southern border of Oklahoma.


Kansas-Nebraska Act

March 3

The Senate passed the Kansas-Nebraska Act. As adopted on May 30, the law set the southern border of Kansas and thus, the northern border of Oklahoma at the 37th parallel.


Indian territory in Oklahoma

February 8

Congress passed the Dawes Act, dividing Indian lands, including most of Oklahoma, into individual allotments for sale to tribal members. This division forced the government to recognize Native Americans as individuals separate from the tribal unit, thus reshaping the government’s Indian policy.


Oklahoma Territorial Act

May 2

The Oklahoma Territorial Act, passed by the Senate on April 23, took effect, covering part of the area of the present state. The law provided for a territorial government, a legislature elected by the people, and an executive appointment by the president. Oklahoma was the last territory to be formed within the continental United States.


Map of Oklahoma, 1898

June 27

The Senate and House passed and the president signed the Curtis Act, reducing the authority of Native American tribal governments and allowing individual land allotments to be sold to whites for settlement. This law resulted in a renewed land rush by settlers to the Oklahoma Territory.


Oklahoma Statehood Enabling Act

April 23

The Senate passed the Oklahoma Statehood Enabling Act, which passed both houses on June 16. It allowed the people of the Oklahoma and Indian territories to draft a state constitution and petition Congress for admission to the Union as one state.


Thomas P. Gore (D-OK)

November 16

Oklahoma was admitted to the Union as the 46th state. On December 11, Oklahoma’s legislature elected the state’s first two senators: Robert L. Owen, a Democrat of Muskogee, and Thomas P. Gore, Democrat of Lawton. Gore was completely blind.


Robert L. Owen (D-OK)

December 3

Robert L. Owen was elected Democratic Conference secretary, despite the fact that he had not yet been sworn into office. He served as Democratic Conference secretary until 1911.


Thomas P. Gore (D-OK)

December 16

Robert L. Owen and Thomas P. Gore presented their credentials, took the oath of office, and were seated in the United States Senate. The senators then drew lots to determine their class assignments. Senator Owen drew Class 2 with a term to expire March 3, 1913. Senator Gore drew Class 3, with a term to expire March 3, 1909.


Robert L. Owen (D-OK)

March 15

At the start of the 63rd Congress the Senate created the Senate Committee on Banking (now the Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs). Robert L. Owen became its first chairman. In this capacity he cosponsored the Glass-Owen Bill--the landmark legislation that created the Federal Reserve Bank.


Senate Committee on Agriculture, 1913

March 15

Thomas P. Gore became chairman of the Committee on Agriculture and Forestry, (today's Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry), serving until 1919.


Seventeenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution

November 3

In winning re-election, Thomas P. Gore became Oklahoma’s first directly elected senator under the terms of the Seventeenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.


Statue of Sequoya, National Statuary Hall Collection

June 6

A statue of Sequoya was unveiled in the U.S. Capitol as Oklahoma's first contribution to the National Statuary Hall Collection. Sequoya was famous for his leadership in the Cherokee Indian tribe, particularly for his efforts at promoting literacy.


J. Elmer Thomas (D-OK)

January 3

J. Elmer Thomas of Medicine Park became chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, serving until 1944.


Joshua B. Lee (D-OK)

November 3

Joshua B. Lee of Norman was elected Democratic Conference secretary, a position he held until 1942.


Statue of Will Rogers, National Statuary Hall Collection

June 6

A statue of Will Rogers, renowned comedian and social critic, was unveiled in the Capitol as Oklahoma's second contribution to the National Statuary Hall Collection.


November 22

J. Elmer Thomas became chairman of the Senate Committee on Agriculture and Forestry (today's Committee on Agriculture, Forestry, and Nutrition), serving until 1947, and again from 1949 to 1951.


Cartoon depicting the 1946 Reorganization Act

August 2

President Harry Truman signed into law the the Legislative Reorganization Act, co-sponsored by Oklahoma representative and future senator Almer Stillwell “Mike” Monroney of Oklahoma City. The act reformed the legislative process by, among other things, reducing the number of Senate committees.


Almer Stillwell Mike Monroney (D-OK)

July 13

Senator Mike Monroney denounced the investigatory authority of Joseph McCarthy’s Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations. Monroney successfully tried to amend the Senate rules to prevent McCarthy's investigation of Central Intelligence Agency personnel.


Map of the reservoirs on the Arkansas River


Senator Robert S. Kerr of Oklahoma City helped shepherd through Congress funding a navigation project that eventually was named the McClellan-Kerr Arkansas River Navigation System. This created an economic boom in northeastern Oklahoma.


May 21

Senator Mike Monroney sponsored the Federal Aviation Act of 1958, which created the Federal Aviation Agency.


Robert Kerr (D-OK)

January 10

Robert Kerr became chairman of the Aeronautical and Space Sciences Committee, (today's Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation). This committee was crucial in providing support for the space program.


January 1

Senator Robert Kerr died in office.


Fred R. Harris (D-OK)

April 24

Fred R. Harris of Lawton received the Golden Gavel Award for presiding over the Senate for 100 hours in a single session of Congress.


Henry L. Bellmon (R-OK)

January 9

After losing a bruising election fight, Edmond A. Edmondson, son of former senator J. Howard Edmondson, filed a petition with the United States Senate to prevent incumbent senator Henry L. Bellmon of Red Rock from being seated. Citing irregularities in the vote totals, he challenged the legitimacy of the electoral result. The Senate ruled on March 4, 1976, in favor of Senator Bellmon.


David L. Boren (D-OK)

January 12

David L. Boren of Seminole became chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, serving until 1993.


Donald L. Nickles (R-OK)

November 29

Donald L. Nickles of Ponca City was elected chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, a position he held until 1991 when he took over as chairman of the Senate Republican Policy Committee He served in that position until 1996.


Kelly D. Johnston

June 8

Kelly D. Johnston of Oklahoma became the 28th secretary of the Senate. Johnston served until September 30, 1996.


James Inhofe (R-OK)

March 31

James Inhofe received the Golden Gavel Award for presiding over the senate for 100 hours in a single session of Congress.


December 3

Donald L. Nickles was elected Senate Republican whip, serving until 2003.


Senate Committee on the Budget, 2003

January 14

Donald L. Nickles became chairman of the Senate Committee on the Budget, serving until 2005. James Inhofe became chairman of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, servnig until 2007.


November 4

Donald L. Nickles became Oklahoma's longest-serving senator, surpassing the record of 23 years, 10 months set by J. W. Elmer Thomas. Nickles retired on January 3, 2005, having served for 24 years.


Tom Coburn (R-OK)

March 1

Tom Coburn of Muskogee received the Golden Gavel Award for presiding over the senate for 100 hours in a single session.


January 8

James Inhofe again became chairman of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works.