Oklahoma

Scene from "Steamboat Round the Bend"

Will Rogers is “Oklahoma’s Favorite Son.” Will was born near the town in Oologah, which was Indian Territory at the time. Will actually never lived in Oklahoma, but he claimed Claremore, Oklahoma as his home town and he even played a character in his movies from Claremore. Will always spoke fondly and proudly of Oklahoma and he and Betty bought property in Claremore, where they planned on building a home when Will retired. That property is now the location of the Will Rogers Memorial Museum.


“I will admit you have hurt some of the weaker-minded states, but Oklahoma is going out for a different class of citizens; and when Oklahoma arises the whole world listens, because they don't know what surprise she may have in store for them. She has astonished them often, has amazed them many times with her new discoveries, dumfounded them with her intellect, swamped them with her riches, shepherded them politically, been the storehouse of their rations, mothered them spiritually--mental giant of the constellation of states, the lighthouse of morality, physically a Madonna, the geographical and artistic center of a liberty-searching nation. Never a breath of scandal has touched the fair state of Oklahoma, while crookedness, robbery and even murder have run rampant throughout our fair land. Oklahoma has never even had an assault-and-battery case. She has never lived to see the finger of scorn pointed at her. The United States Constitution, with all its various assortment of amendments, has always been religiously adhered to. Today Oklahoma stands as a model of what George and Tom--Washington and Jefferson--meant the entire nation to be. Every industry establishes a local headquarters where they assemble their clients. And Oklahoma has been chosen the world's round-up grounds from which to make the heavenly flight.


When the United States realized what France really possessed in owning the territory embracing Oklahoma, they entered into negotiations for its purchase. But France's minister--whoever he was that day--himself realized what they had within the boundaries of what now embraces Oklahoma. America went so far as to offer beaucoup d'argent--heavy jack--for it. But France also realized that they had a great deal of worthless country on their hands, so they made the following proposal to the United States: "We will sell you Oklahoma; but you must agree to take over--without us paying you for it--Louisiana, Arkansas, Missouri, Iowa, South Dakota, Kansas, Nebraska, and parts of Colorado, Wyoming, North Dakota and Minnesota; and you are also to agree that the purchase is always to be known as the Louisiana Purchase, because if France ever knew we sold Oklahoma, why, another cabinet would fall. But by it being known as the Louisiana Sale they will think we made a good business move, and the Chamber of Deputies will no doubt give us a vote of confidence."


Well, America was tickled to death when they heard we were to get Oklahoma at any price, even if we had had to take Chicago. So out of our promise to France we have always let it be known as the Louisiana Purchase, but we all know that its real name is the Oklahoma Purchase and the Louisiana Gift.” – Saturday Evening Post, May 29, 1926