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1846-1848

Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo

 

The Mexican War began in 1846 and ended in 1848 with the signing of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo. Mexico agreed to cede much of the American southwest to the United States in exchange for $15 million dollars. This territory included the future state of Utah.

1850

Map of Utah Territory, 1874

January 29

As part of the Compromise of 1850, Senator Henry Clay introduced the Utah territorial bill, allowing for the establishment of a territorial government in Utah. The Utah Territory was established by Congress on September 9, 1850.

1862

June 3

The Senate passed the Anti-Bigamy Act, aimed at Utah Mormons. This legislation banned multiple marriages and disincorporated the Mormon Church’s structure. It was laxly enforced by the federal government as a result of the Civil War while Mormon control of Utah courts further stalled enforcement of the law in the Utah territory.

1870

Emily and Frank Richards, woman suffrage crusaders

 

The territory of Utah granted women the right to vote. That right was taken away by the Edmunds-Tucker Act of 1887, but in 1895, the right for women to vote and to hold public office was written into the state constitution.

1894

Utah Enabling Act

July 13

Congress passed the Utah Enabling Act, authorizing the admittance of Utah into the Union, pending compliance with certain congressional mandates, including the banning of polygamy.

1896

The Salt Lake Tabernacle decorated with a star and "Utah" to celebrate statehood in 1896.

January 4

Utah became the 45th state in the Union.

1896

Frank Cannon (R-UT)

January 22

Frank Cannon, Republican from Ogden, and Arthur Brown, Republican from Salt Lake City, were elected as the state’s first two senators.

1896

Arthur Brown (R-UT)

January 27

Frank Cannon and Arthur Brown presented their credentials, took the oath of office, and were seated in the U.S. Senate. The senators then drew lots to determine class assignment. Cannon drew Class 1, with a term to expire March 3, 1899. Brown drew Class 3, with a term to expire March 3, 1897.

1896

June 18

Senator Frank Cannon switched parties to become a Silver Republican. Silver Republicans split with the Republican Party over the fight for free silver versus the gold standard.

1898

 

Frank Cannon lost his campaign for reelection. Utah had only one senator for the next two years as the legislature failed to elect a new senator.

1903

Reed Smoot (R-UT)

March 4

Reed Smoot, a Republican from Provo and a leader in the Mormon Church, replaced Joseph Rawlins in the Senate. As soon as he arrived in Washington he faced his first controversy. His credentials as a senator were challenged on the grounds that his religious beliefs made it impossible for him to faithfully execute his position as senator. The Senate decided to seat him but launched an investigation into the matter.

1906

December 8

Former senator Arthur Brown was murdered by his mistress in an ugly and bizarre incident. Brown, a widower, was working in Washington, D.C., as a lawyer when he received notice from his alleged mistress that she believed he should marry her because he was the father of her child. The woman implored him to “do the right thing.” He refused to marry her, and in response, she took a train to Washington and shot him. Brown was shot on December 8 and died four days later. 

1907

Drawing of Reed Smoot's Senate hearing

February 20

The United States Senate voted not to expel Senator Reed Smoot for his leadership role in the Mormon Church.

1914

Seventeenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution

November 3

In winning re-election, Reed Smoot became Utah’s first directly elected senator under the terms of the Seventeenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

1917

William H. King (D-UT)

March 6

William H. King of Salt Lake City was elected Democratic Conference secretary and served in that capacity until 1927.

1922

George Sutherland

September 5

The Senate confirmed the nomination of former senator George Sutherland as associate justice of the Supreme Court. He was the first and only Utahn to serve on the Supreme Court.

1923

Reed Owen Smoot

December 10

Reed Smoot became chairman of the Senate Committee on Finance, a position he held until 1933.

1930

June 17

The Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act, cosponsored by Senator Reed Smoot, was signed into law. It was widely considered a disaster. The act raised U.S. tariffs on over 20,000 imported goods to record levels, triggering other countries to raise their tariffs, and consequently limiting the market for American goods. It was popularly blamed for prolonging and exacerbating the Great Depression.

1937

Elbert Thomas (D-UT)

November 30

Elbert Thomas became chairman of the Senate Committee on Education and Labor (today's Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions), serving until 1945.

1940

PPT Seal

November 19

William King was elected to serve as president pro tempore of the Senate. He held this position until 1941.

1944

Cover of the Farewell Address Notebook

February 22

Senator Elbert D. Thomas of Salt Lake City read George Washington's Farewell Address on the floor of the Senate, a tradition dating to 1862.

1950

Statue of Brigham Young, National Stauary Hall Collection

June 1

A statue of Brigham Young was unveiled at the U.S. Capitol as Utah's first contribution to the National Statuary Hall Collection. Brigham Young was a famous leader in the church of Latter Day Saints, served as the founder of Salt Lake City, and was the first governor of the Utah territory.

1954

Arthur Watkins (R-UT)

August 2

Arthur Watkins of Orem served as chairman of the Select Committee to Study Censure Charges against Joseph McCarthy. In 1954 the Senate censured Joe McCarthy for conduct unbecoming of a senator.

1960

Cover of the Farewell Address Notebook

February 22

Senator Frank Edward "Ted" Moss of Salt Lake City read George Washington's Farewell Address on the floor of the Senate, a tradition dating to 1862.

1970

April 1

The Public Health Cigarette Smoking Act, championed by Ted Moss, was signed into law by President Richard Nixon. The law required tougher labels on cigarette packages and banned cigarette advertisements on radio and television.

1971

Frank Edward (Ted) Moss (D-UT)

January 21

Senate Democrats elected Ted Moss as their Conference secretary. He served in that position until 1976.

1973

Wallace F. Bennett (R-UT)

January 4

Senate Republicans elected Wallace F. Bennett of Salt Lake City as their Conference secretary, a position he held until his retirement at the end of 1974.

1973

January 4

Ted Moss became chairman of the Senate Committee on Aeronautics and Space Science (now the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation), serving until 1977.

1975

Cover of the Farewell Address Notebook

February 17

Senator Edwin Jacob (Jake) Garn of Salt Lake City read George Washington's Farewell Address on the floor of the Senate, a tradition dating to 1862.

1979

Edwin Jacob (Jake) Garn (R-UT)

January 15

Republicans elected Jake Garn as their Conference secretary, a position he held until 1985. Orrin Hatch of Salt Lake City lost the race for the chairmanship of the National Republican Senatorial Committee to John Heinz of Pennsylvania by a vote of 21 to 20.

1981

January 5

Jake Garn became chairman of the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs, serving until 1987. Orrin Hatch became chairman of the Senate Committee on Labor and Human Resources (today's Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions), serving until 1987.

1990

Statue of Philo T. Farnsworth, National Statuary Hall Collection

 

A statue of Philo T. Farnsworth, inventor of the first completely electronic television, was unveiled in the U.S. Capitol as Utah's second contribution to the National Statuary Hall Collection.

1995

January 11

Orrin Hatch became chairman of the Senate Committee on the Judiciary, serving until 1999. He chaired the committee again in 2001, and from 2003 to 2005.

1996

Robert Bennett (R-UT)

July 18

Robert Bennett of Salt Lake City received the Golden Gavel Award for presiding over the Senate for 100 hours in a single session of Congress.

2007

Orrin G. Hatch (R-UT)

January 3

Orrin G. Hatch became Utah's longest-serving senator, surpassing Reed Smoot's record of 30 years. Hatch was first elected to the Senate in 1976.

2015

PPT Seal

January 6

Orrin Hatch was elected to serve as president pro tempore of the Senate.

2015

January 8

Orrin Hatch became chairman of the Senate Committee on Finance.