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  • For much of its history, statehood in the American West has proven contentious. Sometimes tied to larger national problems such as the expansion of slavery and the drive for land, statehood has changed the region in important ways that have been key to its geographical and political development. The idea of the West, which changed throughout the nation's early history, was key to its development. The Northwest Territory, which consisted largely of the modern Midwest, saw statehood develop under the Northwest Ordinance of 1787, which allowed territories to elect an assembly when their population reached 5,000 and apply for statehood once the population reached 60,000.

    Among the states that make up the modern West, Texas was the first to achieve statehood, with the Republic of Texas ...

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