Indiana Admitted into the Union as the 19th State
Indiana became the 19th state when it was admitted into the Union on Dec. 11, 1816. The official resolution granting it statehood was published by the National Advocate (New York, New York) on Dec. 20, 1816:
Laws of the United States (by Authority)
Resolution for Admitting the State of Indiana into the Union
Whereas, in pursuance of an act of Congress passed on the nineteenth day of April one thousand eight hundred and sixteen, entitled “An act to enable the people of the Indiana Territory to form a constitution and state government, and for the admission of that State into the Union,” the people of the said Territory did, on the twenty ninth day of June, 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 with 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 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 Indiana 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
John Gaillard, President of the Senate pro tem.
Dec. 11, 1816—Approved, James Madison
Indiana Territory had been established on July 4, 1800. As part of the Northwest Territory, created when the Congress of the Confederation (predecessor to the U.S. Congress) enacted the Northwest Ordinance in 1787, slavery was banned in the area. Through the efforts of its first governor (and slave-owner) William Henry Harrison, the ban on slavery was repealed, allowing slavery in Indiana Territory. Abolitionist forces slowly gained control, however, and the new state’s constitution banned slavery and Indiana was admitted into the Union as a free state.
In light of this, the following letter is particularly interesting. It was published by Kline's Weekly Carlisle Gazette (Carlisle, Pennsylvania) on Dec. 18, 1816:
The Legislature of Indiana, now in session, are actively engaged in the organization of the details of the state government…Much debate has taken place on a petition or letter from W. E. Summer, of Williamson county, Tenn., requesting that the Legislature may enable him to bring into the state a number of slaves, with the view which he expresses in the following words:
“I have about 40, and my intention is, if permitted by the laws of Indiana, to bring and free them; to purchase land for them, and settle them on it; to give them provisions for the first year, and furnish them with tools for agriculture and domestic manufactory, and next spring with domestic animals. You must be aware, Sir, that this will be attended with no small expenditure of money and trouble. I think, that after a man has had the use of slaves and their ancestors 20 or 30 years, it is unjust and inhuman, to set them free, unprovided with a home, &c. &c. All that I have were raised by my father and myself, and the oldest is about my age (46). I am also very desirous to leave the slave states, and spend my few remaining days in that state where involuntary slavery is not admissible; and will, with the blessing of God, prepare to do so, as soon as I can settle my affairs.”
The mode in which this letter should be treated, is the subject of the debate. It appears to be agreed, that the constitution of the state forbids a compliance with his request.
For more information, visit the official Indiana website.