By Gerald McBeath
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Extra resources for Alaska State Government & Politics (Alaska Historical Commission Studies in History)
With this book we present the product of our efforts and hope that it will give others a better understanding of public affairs in Alaska and lead them to share our fascination with Alaska state politics and government. Each of the authors bears responsibility for his or her own chapter, and each chapter bears its author's particular stamp. Thus, the chapters of this book represent a range of perspectives and vantage points on Alaska state government rather than a single, unified point of view.
Congress finally passed Alaska's First Organic Act on May 17, 1884. ) A compromise bill, it designated Alaska a civil and judicial district, an unprecedented event, and authorized the president to appoint a governor with few specific powers. It designated Sitka as the capital and prohibited the importation, sale, and manufacture of liquor, "except for medicinal, mechanical, and scientific purposes," and charged the president with making provisions for enforcing the prohibition. There was to be be no county organization, no delegate to Congress, no territorial legislature, no regular system of taxation.
Communities with 300 or more permanent inhabitants were allowed to organize local governments. It also provided for the establishment of municipal and district schools, and reduced some of the license fees imposed by the Penal Code of 1899. Half the revenues collected from the businesses within incorporated towns were to be returned to the municipalities for educational purposes. The following year Congress authorized the use of such funds in excess of school needs to be spent on other municipal projects.