& Navigation lines cross the N. part of the state; the Oregon Short Line crosses the S., and the Union Pacific, which owns the Oregon Railway & Navigation and the Oregon Short Line roads, crosses the eastern part. The constitution declares that railways are public highways, that the legislature has authority to regulate rates, and that discrimination in tolls shall not be allowed.
Population.—The population of Idaho in 1870 was 14,999; in 1880 it was 32,610, an increase of 117.4%; in 1890 it was 88,548, an increase of 158.8%; in 1900 161,772 (82.7% increase); and in 1910 325,594 (101.3% increase). Of the inhabitants 15.2% were in 1900 foreign-born and 4.5% were coloured, the coloured population consisting of 293 negroes, 1291 Japanese, 1467 Chinese and 4226 Indians. The Indians lived principally in three reservations, the Fort Hall and Lemhi reservations (1350 sq. m. and 100 sq. m. respectively), in S.E. and E. Idaho, being occupied by the Shoshone, Bannock and Sheef-eater tribes, and the Cœur d’Alene reservation (632 sq. m.), in the N.W., by the Cœur d’Alene and Spokane tribes. The former Nez Perce reservation, in the N.W. part of the state, was abolished in 1895, and the Nez Perces were put under the supervision of the superintendent of the Indian School at Fort Lapwai, about 12 m. E. of Lewiston, in Nez Perce county. Of these tribes, the Nez Perce and Cœur d’Alene were self-supporting; the other tribes were in 1900 dependent upon the United States government for 30% of their rations. Of the 24,604 foreign-born inhabitants of the state, 3943 were from England, 2974 were from Germany, 2528 were Canadian English, 2822 were from Sweden, and 1633 were from Ireland, various other countries being represented by smaller numbers. The urban population of Idaho in 1900 (i.e. the population of places having 4000 or more inhabitants) was 6.2% of the whole. There were thirty-three incorporated cities, towns and villages, but only five had a population exceeding 2000; these were Boisé (5957), Pocatello (4046), Lewiston (2425), Moscow (2484) and Wallace (2265). In 1906 it was estimated that the total membership of all religious denominations was 74,578, and that there were 32,425 Latter-Day Saints or Mormons (266 of the Reorganized Church), 18,057 Roman Catholics, 5884 Methodist Episcopalians (5313 of the Northern Church), 3770 Presbyterians (3698 of the Northern Church), 3206 Disciples of Christ, and 2374 Baptists (2331 of the Northern Convention).
Government.—The present constitution of Idaho was adopted in 1889. The government is similar in outline to that of the other states of the United States. The executive officials serve for a term of two years. Besides being citizens of the United States and residents of the state for two years preceding their election the governor, lieutenant-governor and attorney-general must each be at least thirty years of age, and the secretary of state, state auditor, treasurer and superintendent of education must be at least twenty-five years old. The governor’s veto may be overridden by a two-thirds vote of the legislature; the governor, secretary of state, and the attorney-general constitute a Board of Pardons and a Board of State Prison Commissioners. The legislature meets biennially; its members, who must be citizens of the United States and electors of the state for one year preceding their election, are chosen biennially; the number of senators may never exceed twenty-four, that of representatives sixty; each county is entitled to at least one representative. The judiciary consists of a supreme court of three judges, elected every six years, and circuit and probate courts, the five district judges being elected every four years. Suffrage requirements are citizenship in the United States, registration and residence in the state for six months and in the county for thirty days immediately before election, but mental deficiency, conviction of infamous crimes (without restoration to rights of citizenship), bribery or attempt at bribery, bigamy, living in “what is known as patriarchal, plural or celestial marriage,” or teaching its validity or belonging to any organization which teaches polygamy, are disqualifications. Chinese or persons of Mongolian descent not born in the United States are also excluded from suffrage rights. Women, however, since 1897, have had the right to vote and to hold office, and they are subject to jury service. An Australian ballot law was passed in 1891. The constitution forbids the chartering of corporations except according to general laws. In 1909 a direct primary elections law was passed which required a majority of all votes to nominate, and, to make a majority possible, provided for preferential (or second-choice) voting, such votes to be canvassed and added to the first-choice vote for each candidate if there be no majority by the first-choice vote. The right of eminent domain over all corporations is reserved to the state; and no corporation may issue stock except for labour, service rendered, or money paid in. The waters of the state are, by the constitution of the state, devoted to the public use, contrary to the common law theory of riparian rights. By statute (1891) it has been provided that in civil actions three-fourths of a jury may render a verdict, and in misdemeanour cases five-sixths may give a verdict. Life insurance agents not residents of Idaho cannot write policies in the state. Divorces may be obtained after residence of six months on the ground of adultery, cruelty, desertion or neglect for one year, habitual drunkenness for the same period, felony or insanity. There are a state penitentiary at Boisé, an Industrial Training School at St Anthony, an Insane Asylum at Blackfoot, and a North Idaho Insane Asylum at Orofino. The care of all defectives was let by contract to other states until 1906, when a state school for the deaf and blind was opened in Boisé. No bureau of charities is in existence, but there is a Labor Commission, and a Commissioner of Immigration and a Commissioner of Public Lands to investigate the industrial resources. The offices of State Engineer and Inspector of Mines have been created.
Education.—The public schools in 1905-1906 had an enrolment of 62,726, or 81.5% of the population between 5 and 21 years of age. The average length of school term was 6-8 months, the average expenditure (year ending Aug. 31, 1906) for instruction for each child was $19.29, and the expenditure for all school purposes was $1,008,481. There was a compulsory attendance law, which, however, was not enforced. Higher education is provided by the University of Idaho, established in 1899 at Moscow, Latah county, which confers degrees in arts, science, music and engineering, and offers free tuition. In 1907-1908 the institution had 41 instructors and 426 regular and 58 special students. In 1901 the Academy of Idaho, another state institution with industrial and technical courses and a preparatory department, was established at Pocatello, Bannock county, to be a connecting link between the public schools and the university. There are two state normal schools, one at Lewiston and the other at Albion. The only private institution of college rank in 1908 was the College of Caldwell (Presbyterian, opened 1891) at Caldwell, Canyon county, with 65 students in 1906-1907. There are Catholic academies at Boisé and Cœur d’Alene and a convent, Our Lady of Lourdes, at Wallace, Shoshone county, opened in 1905; Mormon schools at Paris (Bear Lake county), Preston (Oneida county), Rexburg (Fremont county), and Oakley (Cassia county); a Methodist Episcopal school (1906) at Weiser (Washington county); and a Protestant Episcopal school at Boisé (1892). The Idaho Industrial Institute (non-denominational; incorporated in 1899) is at Weiser.
Finance.—The finances of Idaho are in excellent condition. The bonded debt on the 30th of September 1908 was $1,364,000. The revenue system is based on the general property tax and there is a State Board of Equalization. Each year $100,000 is set aside for the sinking fund for the payment of outstanding bonds as fast as they become due. The constitution provides that the rate of taxation shall never exceed 10 mills for each dollar of assessed valuation, that when the taxable property amounts to $50,000,000 the
- This disqualification and much other legislation were due to the large Mormon population in Idaho. In 1884-1885 all county and precinct officers were required to take a test oath abjuring bigamy, polygamy, or celestial marriage; and under this law in 1888 three members of the territorial legislature were deprived of their seats as ineligible. An act of 1889, when the Mormons constituted over 20% of the population, forbade in the case of any who had since the 1st of January 1888 practised, taught, aided or encouraged polygamy or bigamy, their registration or voting until two years after they had taken a test oath renouncing such practices, and until they had satisfied the District Court that in the two years preceding they had been guilty of no such practices. The Constitutional Convention which met at Boisé in July-August 1889 was strongly anti-Mormon, and the Constitution it framed was approved by a popular vote of 12,398 out of 14,184. The United States Supreme Court decided the anti-Mormon legislation case of Davis v. Beason in favour of the Idaho legislature. In 1893 the disqualification was made no longer retroactive, the two-year clause was omitted, and the test oath covered only present renunciation of polygamy.