Special Report

How Your State Was Founded

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21. Massachusetts
> Founding date: February 6, 1788 (6th state to join)
> First capital city: Boston
> First governor: John Hancock

Massachusetts, which contains numerous historical sites and landmarks from America’s revolutionary period, ratified the Constitution in February, 1788, just two months after Delaware became the first state to do so. Some Massachusetts representatives were unsure about signing the document until a Bill of Rights was proposed.

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22. Michigan
> Founding date: January 26, 1837 (26th state to join)
> First capital city: Detroit
> First governor: Stevens Thomson Mason

Michigan had to make some sacrifices in order to become a state. Its bid for statehood was blocked because of a border dispute with Ohio known as the “Toledo War.” To resolve the dispute, Michigan had to give up the land around what is now Toledo, Ohio. Michigan got some land back when President Andrew Jackson added the Upper Peninsula region to the state’s borders in the bill granting it statehood.

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23. Minnesota
> Founding date: May 11, 1858 (32nd state to join)
> First capital city: St. Paul
> First governor: Henry Hastings Sibley

Minnesota became a state on May 11, 1858, but the state was so isolated at the time that it took over a week for state residents to find out. Minnesota, a free state, was supposed to join the Union with Kansas to preserve the balance of free and slave states, but Kansas’ admission was delayed because of voter fraud.

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24. Mississippi
> Founding date: December 10, 1817 (20th state to join)
> First capital city: Natchez
> First governor: David Holmes

The area that became Mississippi was under Spanish control after the United States was first founded. Spain eventually ceded the area in 1798, leading to the creation of the Mississippi Territory. Mississippi was later split in two, creating Alabama, just before it became a state.

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25. Missouri
> Founding date: August 10, 1821 (24th state to join)
> First capital city: St. Charles
> First governor: Alexander McNair

In the early 19th century, settlers began to push out farther west, and Congress wanted to ensure that there was still a balance to tamp down the tension between slave states and free states. Missouri, a slave-owning territory, pushed for statehood and received it with the Missouri Compromise, meaning that it got statehood, but only because Maine split off from Massachusetts as a free state.

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