Alabama Admitted into the Union as the 22nd State
Early settlers in the north of present-day Alabama dreamed of statehood, but the lack of a coastline hindered development efforts and kept the area’s population small. Then, during the War of 1812, the U.S. annexed the Mobile District from an unresisting Spain and suddenly the area had access to the sea. The other problem the settlers encountered—resistance by the Native Americans in the area, especially the Creeks—was solved by Andrew Jackson, who won the Creek War. The treaty of Fort Jackson, which ended that war on Aug. 9, 1814, forced the Native Americans to give up half of present-day Alabama, and the rest was taken later.
Alabama Territory was established Aug. 15, 1817, and Alabama was admitted as the 22nd state of the Union on Dec. 14, 1819. Alabama came into the Union as a slave state, with a state constitution establishing universal suffrage for white men.
The Daily National Intelligencer (Washington, D.C.) published both an announcement of Alabama’s statehood and the official resolution for its admission into the Union on Dec. 15, 1819:
Tuesday, December 14, 2009
A message was received from the President of the United States, announcing that he had approved and signed the resolution declaring the admission of Alabama into the Union on an equal footing with the original states; when
Mr. John W. Walker, a Senator from the said state, appeared, was qualified, and took his seat.
Resolution Declaring the Admission of the State of Alabama into the Union
Whereas, in pursuance of an act of Congress, passed on the second day of March, one thousand eight hundred and nineteen, entitled “An act to enable the people of the Alabama Territory to form a constitution and state government, and for the admission of such state into the Union on an equal footing with the original states,” the people of the said territory did, on the second day of August, in the present year, by a Convention called for that purpose, form for themselves a constitution and state government, which constitution and state government, so formed, is republican, and in conformity to the principles of the articles of compact between the original states and the people and states in the territory northwest of the river Ohio, passed on the thirteenth of July, one thousand seven hundred and eighty seven, so far as the same have been extended to the said territory by the articles of agreement between the United States and the state of Georgia--
Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That the state of Alabama shall be one, and is hereby declared to be one, of the United States of America, and admitted into the Union, on an equal footing with the original states, in all respects whatever.
H. Clay, Speaker of the House of Representatives.
Jas. Barbour, President of the Senate, pro tempore.
December 14, 1819.—Approved, James Monroe.
With the port of Mobile providing access to the sea and the Indian “problem” resolved, Alabama Territory began the development that qualified it for statehood. In September 1818 the Rev. Mr. Ranaldson journeyed through the Alabama Territory and later wrote a letter expressing his astonishment at how quickly the territory was being civilized. His letter was published by the Christian Watchman & Baptist Register (Boston, Massachusetts) on Dec. 18, 1819:
Domestic Religious Intelligence
Extract of a Letter from Rev. Mr. Ranaldson to the Corresponding Secretary of the Baptist Board of Missions, dated St. Francisville, June 29, 1819
Rev. and Very Dear Brother:
In September last, I performed a tour to the Alabama Territory, of 600 or 700 miles, accompanied by brother Estes…An astonishing change has taken place in the Alabama wilderness since I passed through it on my way to New Orleans.—The solitary places are literally made glad; places where the nightly howlings of ravenous beasts, and the more horrible yell of savage tribes affrighted the traveller, are converted into the peaceful abodes of civilized life; into the fruitful fields of the husbandman. Some churches are constituted, and the joyful sound is heard in the land; the wilderness is glad; the desert blossoms; the fields are white unto harvest, and Zion’s labourers are invited to enter! I did not attempt, in this newly settled country, to make any collections for the mission; but on Pearl River, in the older settlements, a very laudable zeal was manifested towards the cause of missions.
The Alabama Legislature was very thankful for Andrew Jackson’s success against the Creeks, as shown in this article printed by the Catskill Recorder (Catskill, New York) on Dec. 15, 1819:
Alabama.—The Legislature of Alabama have, by a joint committee of their houses, presented an Address to Major-General Jackson, expressive of their high respect for the important services he has rendered to his country, and to the state of Alabama in particular, and approving the whole course of his military career. The general replied in a brief, comprehensive, and very respectful manner.
For more information, visit the official Alabama website.