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Southeast Missouri had a key role in the road to Missouri statehood in 1817-1821. The events leading to statehood, and some of the events, people, and lifeways in the area may be unfamiliar to many modern-day Missourians. Currently, Missouri is celebrating its Bicentennial, and this program aims to summarize the events leading to statehood, some of the factors affecting Missouri’s entry into the Union, and how people lived and worked during that time 200 years ago.Every Friday morning at 6:42 and 8:42 a.m. and Saturday morning at 8:18 a.m., Bill Eddleman highlights the people, places, ways of life, and local events in Southeast Missouri in 1821.The theme music for the show ("The Missouri Waltz") is provided by Old-Time Missouri Fiddler Charlie Walden, host of the podcast "Possum’s Big Fiddle Show."

Missouri Bicentennial Minutes: Statehood Becomes A Reality

General Records of the United States Government, Record Group 11.
Presidential Proclamation 28 of August 10, 1821, by President James Monroe Declaring the Admission of the State of Missouri as a Member of the Union to be Complete; 8/10/1821

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!

Bill Eddleman was born in Cape Girardeau, and is an 8th-generation Cape Countian. His first Missouri ancestor came to the state in 1802. He attended SEMO for two years before transferring to the University of Missouri to study Fisheries and Wildlife Biology. He stayed at Mizzou to earn a master of science in Fisheries and Wildlife, and continued studies in Wildlife Ecology at Oklahoma State University.
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