Why did Arizona become a territory? The settlers wanted government protection. If Arizona became a separate territory from New Mexico, the people believed that they would be protected. But in the early 1860s, there were only 2,500 people in Arizona, not counting the Native Americans. That number was too small, according to some easterners, to form a separate territory. Congressmen from the East, however, were also interested in the gold and silver that had been discovered in Arizona. They also did not want this land to be a part of the Confederate States of America. At this time, the United States was in the middle of its Civil War. Yet, Arizonans, led by Charles Poston, got the United States House of Representatives to pass the Arizona Organic Act on May 8, 1862. Mr. Poston now began to work with the United States Senate. In February 1863 the United States Senate also finally passed the Arizona Organic Act. Now, only a president’s signature was needed. On Tuesday, February 24, 1863, President Abraham Lincoln had the Arizona Organic Act bill laid upon his desk. He dipped his quill pen into the inkwell and signed his name to the bottom of the bill. It was done! Arizona was now a separate territory of the United States of America. President Lincoln, and Charles Poston, had made it happen! r r This medallion was made  in 1963 to celebrate the  100-year anniversary of  the establishment of the  Territory of Arizona. r r 78 Chapter 7 • Finding an Identity In 1863, during the middle   of the American Civil War,  President Abraham Lincoln  signed the bill creating the  Territory of Arizona.