Illinois Admitted into the Union as the 21st State
On Dec. 3, 1818, the young United States of America expanded when the Union admitted Illinois as its 21st state. Though some slavery existed in the area before the Illinois Territory was established on Feb. 3, 1809, slavery was banned by the time Illinois gained statehood.
The American & Commercial Daily Advertiser (Baltimore, Maryland) announced the news by publishing this resolution on Dec. 15, 1818:
Resolution, declaring the admission of the State of Illinois into the Union
Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That, whereas in pursuance of an act of Congress, passed on the eighteenth day of April, one thousand eight hundred and eighteen, entitled “An act to enable the people of the Illinois 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 said territory did, on the twenty-sixth 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 inconformity 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 13th day of July one thousand seven hundred and eighty-seven: Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That the state of Illinois 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.
Speaker of the House of Representatives
President of the Senate pro tempore
December 3d, 1818—Approved,
The Commercial Advertiser (New York, New York) published this notice on Dec. 22, 1818:
The New State of Illinois
Our young sister is welcome to our family. Like Minerva from the head of Jove, she has sprung into life in full maturity of wisdom.
News traveled slowly in that pre-telegraph era, but the Illinois Emigrant (Shawneetown, Illinois) published this announcement on the front page of its Dec. 26, 1818, issue:
The President of the United States having signed the Act for the admission of the State of Illinois into the Union, she may now be counted the twenty-first state in the Confederacy. Her Senators and Representative have taken their seats in Congress.
The Illinois Emigrant also published this information on the front page of that Dec. 26, 1818, issue:
In Senate, December 4.
Mr. Ninian Edwards and Mr. Jesse B. Thomas, Senators from the State of Illinois, appeared this day, were qualified and took their seats. The Senate proceeded to the classification, by lot, of the two senators added to that body by the admission into the Union of the State of Illinois; when it appeared that Mr. Edwards was cast in the first class, whose term of service expires on the 4th of March next, and Mr. Thomas in the third class, whose term expires on the 4th of March in the year 1823.
For more information, visit the official Illinois website.