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        Idaho | Activity 7.3: Boise Becomes the Capitol of Idaho

        Students read an article about the decision to move the capital of Idaho from Lewiston. Students learn how Boise became the capital of Idaho, and then write their argument for or against the move.

        Lesson Summary

        Students read an article about the decision to move the capital of Idaho from Lewiston. Students learn how Boise became the capital of Idaho, and then write their argument for or against the move. 

        This lesson is part of Great States: Idaho | Unit 7: Territory-to-State which looks at the key turning points that led to Idaho evolving into the 43rd state of the Union. Students will learn that statehood was a complex process and not an inevitable historical outcome. 

        Time Allotment

        20 minutes

        Learning Objectives

        Standards:

        4.SS.2.3.1: Analyze past and present settlement patterns in Idaho.

        Supplemental Standards:

        Boise District 413.22: Analyze past and present settlement patterns in Idaho.

        Boise District 413.24: Identify major events that lead to Idaho statehood.

        Supplies

        Directions

        1. Explain to students that the first capital of the Idaho Territory was Lewiston, around 270 miles north of Boise. Lewiston had been the center of the early gold mining region in northern Idaho. Yet after discoveries of gold in southern Idaho in 1862, the miners raced to the Boise Basin. Farmers also moved to the area to plant crops that would feed the miners. By 1864, much of the population of Lewiston had left, making it difficult to remain the capital of the state. In late 1864, Idaho legislators voted to move the capital to Boise. Some people believed that this was illegal, and Lewiston lawyers tried to fight against it, but subsequent legal rulings established Boise as the official capital.
        2. Project and have students read the article Capital Move or Theft? The article details reasons Northerners thought the capital should remain Lewiston, and Southerners thought it should move to Boise.
        3. Writing Activity: Have students write a short essay either for or against the move of the capital to Boise. 

        Answer Key

        Points to look for in students’ essays:

        Pro Boise:

        • Boise had a larger population.
        • Miners and farmers would bring money to the region. 
        • Lawmakers would be able to travel easily to the state capital.

        Pro Lewiston:

        • Picked by the territorial governor
        • Clinton DeWitt Smith broke into the Capitol Building to steal the seal and Constitution
        • Poorly scheduled representative session caused an unfair vote

         

        For more information on the move to Boise, click here.

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