Missouri State Day, Motto, and Nickname
DATE OF ADMISSION TO UNITED STATES
August 10, 1821
RANKING IN STATE ADMISSION
The area comprising what is now the state of Missouri was acquired during the Louisiana Purchase of 1803. Territorial status was granted in 1812, but slow population and economic growth, coupled with political upheaval over slavery, delayed Missouri being admitted as a state until after the Missouri Compromise of 1820.
This compromise admitted Missouri as a slave state, but excluded the lands of the Louisiana Purchase north of latitude 36º30'N. All but a small portion of Missouri is north of the compromise line. The Missouri Compromise was later repealed as a result of the Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854, and ruled unconstitutional in 1857 in the Dred Scott Decision.
Salus populi suprema lex esto ("Let the welfare of the people be the supreme law.")
Missouri does not have an official state motto, but the Latin inscription Salus populi suprema lex estoappears on the Great Seal of Missouri. The earliest use of this phrase is believed to have been by the Roman philosopher Cicero, author of De Legibus. The original inscription read Ollis salus populi suprema lex esto. Missouri’s motto is also not unique: Its popularity has led to its adoption by several cities and organizations around the world.
"The Show Me State," "The Cave State," "The Lead State," "The Bullion State," "The Ozark State," "Mother of the West," "The Iron Mountain State," "The Puke State," "Pennsylvania of the West"
While the origin of the nickname "The Show Me State" is unknown, it has become so popular that it now appears on Missouri license plates. It is generally used to express an attitude of dedication to common sense. "The Cave State" is in reference to the presence of some 5,600 caves in the state.
"The Lead State" refers to Missouri's position as the country's leading producer of lead. "The Bullion State" is a nickname connected with the first Missouri senator, Thomas Hart Benton, who served 30 years in the U.S. Senate. He was staunchly opposed to banks, paper money, and monopolies and supported the monetary use of gold and silver only.
"The Ozark State" draws attention to the fact that the Ozark Mountains are a significant geographical feature of the state. "Mother of the West" and "The Gateway to the West" point to the fact that both the Oregon and Santa Fe trails originated in Missouri. "The Iron Mountain State" refers to the vast veins of iron ore located at Iron Mountain.
"The Puke State" is said to refer to the many Missourians who left the state to find work during the depression. "Pennsylvania of the West" refers to the similarities between the economies of Missouri and Pennsylvania.
-World Trade Press