Mississippi Admitted into the Union as the 20th State
The United States of America gained its twentieth state when it admitted Mississippi into the Union on Dec. 10, 1817. Mississippi Territory was first organized on April 7, 1798, being comprised of land ceded by the states of Georgia and South Carolina.
The 1817 state constitution contained a clause that was revolutionary for its time: it abolished the laws against usury, as explained in this article the Hallowell Gazette (Hallowell, Maine) published on Dec. 10, 1817:
Usury.—The State of Mississippi, we believe, has the honor of being the first political community which has abolished the absurd, immoral, and impolitic laws, so common in other countries, against usury, or the taking of a just compensation for the use of money. They declare in their constitution, that “the general assembly shall pass no law impairing the obligation of contracts, prior to the year 1821, on account of the rate of interest, fairly agreed on in writing between the contracting parties for a bona fide loan of money; but they shall have power to regulate the rate of interest where no special contract exists in relation thereto.” This abolition of the laws against usury is indeed limited; but if the people of that state are so much opposed to such laws, that they have thought proper to prohibit them, even for a limited time, in their constitution, they will no doubt persist in a policy, which experience must demonstrate, as reason has already, to be wise, liberal, and just.
This announcement of Mississippi’s statehood was published by Poulson’s American Daily Advertiser (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) on Dec. 11, 1817:
State of Mississippi
On motion of Mr. Nelson, of Va., the House resolved itself into a committee of the whole on the Resolution from the Senate for admitting the State of Mississippi into the Union. The Constitution of the State having been read through at the suggestion of Mr. Taylor—the committee rose and reported their agreement to the Resolution; which was then read a third time, and finally passed.
The Washington Gazette (Washington, D.C.) published this announcement on Dec. 12, 1817:
City of Washington: Friday, December 12, 1817
Having been authorized by the Secretary of State to publish the Laws of the United States, we commence the duties of this appointment today; and our readers may rely upon finding in the Gazette the Acts of Congress regularly and accurately printed. The resolution admitting Mississippi into the Union adds a new state to the American confederacy, and the Representative and Senators thence are now fully and constitutionally entitled to their seats in the national Legislature. Thus we continue, as it respects our happy form of government, “in the full tide of successful experiment.”
The American Watchman (Wilmington, Delaware) published the official resolution for admitting Mississippi on Dec. 24, 1817:
Resolution for the Admission of the State of Mississippi into the Union
Whereas, in pursuance of an act of Congress, passed on the first day of March, one thousand eight hundred and seventeen, entitled, “An act to enable the people of the western part of the Mississippi 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 fifteenth 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.
Resolved, by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That the state of Mississippi 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.
December 10, 1817.—Approved, James Monroe.
For more information, visit the official Mississippi website.