Missouri Bicentennial Minutes: Statehood Becomes A Reality
Next Tuesday marks the 200th anniversary of the culmination of Missouri’s struggle for statehood on August 10, 2021. President James Monroe issued the proclamation stating that “the admission of the said state of Missouri into this Union is declared to be complete.” Missouri became the 24th state admitted to the Union, and St. Charles became the temporary state capitol until the General Assembly located a permanent site.
Missouri’s official entry into statehood was under the auspices of a requirement from Congress related to the Second Missouri Compromise. Rather than a joint resolution or an act passed by Congress and signed by the President, Missouri entered the Union under the terms of an enabling act allowing entry by Presidential Proclamation.
Congress designated this procedure by authorizing the proclamation once the Missouri General Assembly passed the “solemn public act.” In this, the General Assembly stated it would never construe the clause in the first Missouri Constitution that required them to enact legislation to keep free people of color from moving into the state as allowing the passage of any law abridging the privileges and immunities of U. S. citizens. After passage of the act, the way was open for President Monroe to issue the proclamation.
Local newspaper articles suggest Missourians mostly celebrated statehood in March and April, 1821, after President Monroe signed the enabling act. The August date passed with little mention at the time. However, the fact of Missouri Statehood became a reality at the issuance of the proclamation on August 10, 1821, and that is what we celebrate next week!
Happy Missouri Statehood Day, and I’ll see you next week!