JEFFERSON CITY, MO. — Two hundred years ago Tuesday, Missouri became the 24th state to enter the Union.
It was a day of celebration in the state’s capital city as people gathered outside the Capitol to remember the past, present, and future of the Show-Me state.
President James Monroe signed a bill on August 10th, 1821 officially making Missouri a state. As the sun beat down on the Capitol lawn Tuesday morning, historians and state leaders looked back on Missouri’s history.
“This is something extra special that we all get to be here at this very moment in time celebrating our bicentennial,” Jefferson City Mayor Carrie Tergin said.
With music throughout the celebration from the Missouri National Guard, 135th Army Band, and the Missouri Choral Directors Association All-State Festival Choir, singing and playing patriotic music, including the “Missouri Waltz.”
“No matter where you live, in a big city or whether you live in the country, everything within the border of Missouri makes us who we are,” Gov. Mike Parson said. “I’ll tell you; the bicentennial is a great time for all of us to reflect a little bit.”
Executive director of the State Historical Society of Missouri Gary Kremer told the crowd of over a hundred people Tuesday that the Show-Me State had less than a population of 70,000 back in 1821.
“This concentration of Missourians lived, perhaps 5,000 or 6,000, in St. Louis; other pockets of population existed along the Mississippi River,” Kremer said. “They saw Missouri as a place of promise.”
Missouri was admitted into the Union after Maine made a compromise with Missouri.
“Which allowed Maine to come in as a free state and Missouri as a slave state,” Kremer said. “A major reason it took us so long to become a state was us Missourians quarreled with the federal government, even threatening to succeed from it before we actually joined it.”
During the statehood day ceremony, vice president of government relations and public policy for the United States Postal Service, Peter Pastre, and Parson unveiled the forever stamp to commemorate the state’s bicentennial. The stamp features the Bollinger Mill State Historic Site, one of four covered bridges left in the state, near Cape Girardeau.
Parson went on during his speech to list the number of successful and historic people to come from Missouri.
“President Truman, George Washington Carter, and General John Pershing, the highest-ranking military officer ever in our country,” Parson said. “Walt Disney, Mark Twain, and Daniel Boone.”
The governor read the proclamation to the crowd, making August 10th, 2021, the Bicentennial Statehood Day for the State of Missouri.
“Whereas the year 2021 marks the 200th anniversary of Missouri’s statehood and a collected hope that future Missourians will learn from its past and chart a dynamic and unified course for the future,” Parson read.
On the same day as Missouri’s birthday celebration, 33 people from 19 countries became U.S. citizens inside the Capitol.
“I’m over the moon,” Jacky Crowell said, holding back tears. “I cannot express how excited I am. I am happy. I’m so happy.”
Crowell is from the Philippines. She said she wanted to become an American citizen to be closer to her military husband.
“It means a lot, to be with my husband, my daughter, my family, that is always away, and I’m here, where’s he is from,” Crowell said. “I just never thought I would become one of the U.S. citizens.”
The bicentennial celebration continues later this week at the Missouri State Fair in Sedalia, which starts Thursday and runs through Sunday, August 22nd.
Next month, there will be a bicentennial inaugural parade and ball in Jefferson City on September 18th.
Happy 200th Birthday, Missouri!
Visit the state’s bicentennial website for a list of activities happening across Missouri.