Michigan State Day, Motto, and Nickname
DATE OF ADMISSION TO UNITED STATES
January 26, 1837
RANKING IN STATE ADMISSION
Boundary disputes between the Territory of Michigan and the State of Ohio plagued Michigan’s entry into the Union for more than 20 years, and even led to an armed standoff between the two regions. It wasn't until the federal government intervened and concessions were made on each side that a resolution was reached, paving the way for the acceptance of Michigan as the 26th state of the Union.
The 1787 Northwest Ordinance, which set the guidelines for establishing statehood, had outlined the border of what would become the Territory of Michigan. The 1802 Ohio constitution took exception with this boundary, establishing a claim over a strip of land that was later to become known as the Toledo Strip. The following year the Territory of Michigan was declared, and the new territory set to work to establish its domain. Both Michigan and Ohio, relying on commissioned surveys, claimed the 486-square-mile (1,259 sq km) strip.
In 1833, while submitting the voters’ request for statehood, Michigan inadvertently reopened the boundary dispute. Both sides, determined to maintain control over Toledo, established voting districts in the disputed area and laws to protect their respective interests in the property. Congress however, sided with Ohio, and denied Michigan’s petition for statehood, which would have included the Toledo Strip. Armed camps were drawn that eventually led to one individual being wounded in a scuffle. Frustrated with delays, Michigan voters moved ahead to ratify the constitution and to elect senators in order to provide a voice in Congress.
It was not until June of the following year, however, that Michigan received positive consideration for statehood. The acceptance was to come in the form of compromise: The Toledo Strip would be given to Ohio, and Michigan would be granted a portion of the Upper Peninsula of the Great Lakes—as well as immediate statehood. The territory would still be required to hold a convention and ratify the compromise. Michigan wasted little time in moving ahead with the deal. By September the 49 delegates had been elected, and by December the conventional compromise was approved. Michigan was accepted into the Union the following January.
Si quaeris peninsulam amoenam circumspice ("If you seek a pleasant peninsula, look around you.")
Adopted in 1835, the official state motto appears on Michigan's state seal. Some claim it is an homage to a Latin inscription on St. Paul's Cathedral in London, England, which reads Si monumentum requiris, circumspice ("If you seek a monument, look around you.")
"The Great Lakes State (previously used on license plates)," "Water Wonderland (previously used on license plates)," "Lady of the Lake," "Wolverine State," "The Auto State," "Mitten State"
Michigan’s abundant lakes, which number close to 1,100, have been responsible for more than a few of its affectionate nicknames. Four of the five Great Lakes touch Michigan shores, leading to its nickname "The Great Lakes State." "Water Wonderland" and "Lady of the Lake" are assumed to be offshoots of this reference.
Some rumors suggest that wolverines once roamed the state of Michigan. Recent investigations have suggested that Michigan’s wolverine population was actually quite small. But the state’s reputation as the home of the wolverine led to the University of Michigan’s adopting it as its mascot and the subsequent naming of its athletic teams after the brave critter. Native Americans during the 1830s also likened the behavior of European settlers to the predatory wolverine, which is known for its aggressive way of eating.
Detroit, Michigan, has remained a symbol of the United States' automobile industry for more than 50 years, and is the reason that Michigan is called "The Auto State." Michigan’s odd shape has been likened to that of a mitten, although its invigorating winters might give one the impression that it was given this nickname for its sub-zero temperatures.
-World Trade Press