Happy birthday! Michigan marks 182 years as a state

It was 182 years ago Saturday that the Great Lakes State became whole, when President Andrew Jackson gave his stamp of approval to make Michigan the nation’s 26th state.

How many of you knew the Michigan Constitution was written in 1835, two years before the state was formally admitted to the union?

The state’s storied history of its adoption begins with conflict: a boundary dispute between Michigan and Ohio that came to be known as the Toledo War.

The Northwest Ordinance of 1787 created an east-west line drawn from the southern tip of Lake Michigan. Eventually, surveyors found that Lake Michigan was actually further south, and that the previously drawn border included the area that would later become Toledo. Both sides saw the Toledo Strip as theirs, and maintained their claims to it. But the controversy heated up when Michigan sought to become part of the union in 1833.

Politicking allowed Michigan’s request to be blocked until it agreed to Ohio’s proposed boundary, but Michigan responded by creating a resolution that would impose heavy fines on anyone other than Michigan or federal officers trying to exercise jurisdiction in the Toledo Strip.

Ohio’s governor then turned the region into a county and appointed a sheriff and judge, to which Michigan’s territorial Gov. Stevens T. Mason responded by mobilizing troops and heading toward Ohio. Eventually, President Andrew Jackson intervened, removing Mason from office and disbanding his troops. Despite that, Michigan residents created a state government anyway, electing Mason as its governor.

Reportedly, the only blood in the war was that of Michigan Sheriff Joseph Wood, who attempted to arrest an Ohioan named Two Stickney in Toledo. Stickney stabbed Wood with a knife and left him with a minor wound.

Certainly this is a truncated version of history, but when the dust settled, Michigan agreed to relinquish its claim to the Toledo Strip and acquired the Upper Peninsula, a win for Michigan in our book.

Our first governor, naturally, was Mason, a Democrat, who technically held that post from 1835 to 1840. A little side fact, he was known as the “Boy Governor,” since he was just 24 years old when he took office.

All together, Michigan has had 49 governors, and two of the last three have been women, Jennifer Granholm and our current leader, Gretchen Whitmer.

As Michiganders, we’ve built bridges and automobiles, dug ourselves deep into the earth’s resources, fought back from economic hardships and we’ve persevered through environmental challenges and some of harshest winters around.

Michigan has come a long way in our 182 years, and we hope the Great Lakes State will continue that progress for many more.

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