Missouri, the Show Me State, was admitted to the United States in 1821 as part of the Missouri Compromise. Located on the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers, the state was an important hub of transportation and commerce in early America, and the Gateway Arch in St. Louis is a monument to Missouri’s role as the “Gateway to the West.” St. Louis, Missouri, is home to the Anheuser-Busch, the maker of Budweiser beer, and boasts the largest beer-producing plant in the country.
Date of Statehood: August 10, 1821
Capital: Jefferson City
Population: 5,988,927 (2010)
Size: 69,702 square miles
Nickname(s): Show Me State
Motto: Salus Populi Suprema Lex Esto (“The welfare of the people shall be the supreme law”)
Tree: Flowering Dogwood
Flower: White Hawthorn Blossom
- When the Missouri Territory first applied for statehood, a debate ensued over the government’s right to restrict slavery. The Missouri Compromise granted Maine entrance into the Union as a free state while allowing Missouri permission to enter without restrictions on slavery. An amendment was added that prohibited slavery in the remaining Louisiana Purchase territory north of latitude 36°30’, but the Missouri Compromise was ultimately ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court in 1857.
- On Oct. 27, 1838, after Mormons attacked a militia believed to be an anti-Mormon mob, Governor Lilburn Boggs issued an “Extermination Order,” which directed General John Clark to treat all members of the Mormon Church as enemies that must either be exterminated or removed from the state of Missouri. Governor Christopher Bond officially rescinded the order in 1976.
- In 1873, Susan Elizabeth Blow opened the first public kindergarten in the United States in St. Louis after having become interested in the kindergarten methods of philosopher Friedrich Froebel while traveling in Germany a few years earlier. Blow later established a training school for kindergarten teachers.
- Charles Lindbergh’s flight from Long Island to Paris May 20-21, 1927, took 33 and one half hours to complete and was the first nonstop solo transatlantic flight in history. Named The Spirit of St. Louis in recognition of the St. Louis, Missouri, businessmen who funded its construction, Lindbergh’s single-engine plane had a 46-foot wingspan and weighed 2,150 pounds when empty.
- The Gateway Arch in St. Louis is the country’s tallest manmade monument at 630 feet. Completed in 1965, the structure was built to commemorate the city’s importance in settling the west following President Thomas Jefferson’s Louisiana Purchase in 1803.
- During the Civil War, Missourians were split in their allegiances, supplying both Union and Confederate forces with troops.