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Minnesota Office of the Secretary of State

Secretary of State’s Note: Acceptance by congress is the final act in the process of being admitted as a state. A bill for the admission of Minnesota into the union was submitted to congress in December of 1857.

The bill for admission encountered several obstacles. The Minnesota bill was coupled with the bill for the admission of Kansas. It was customary to admit states in pairs to preserve the balance of power in congress:  a state that permitted slavery would be linked with a state that prohibited slavery. Minnesota was to be a free state, Kansas a slave state. The proposal to admit Kansas was made under its fraudulent Lecompton constitution. The fraud in the adoption of the Kansas constitution was so glaring that admission under it was abandoned, delaying the Minnesota bill for several months. Minnesota’s bill also met with general opposition from congressmen from southern slave states.

On May 11, 1858, the bill for the admission of Minnesota was passed by congress and approved by President James Buchanan. However, word of its passage did not reach St. Paul until almost two weeks later. Minnesota had no telegraph lines or railroads, so a telegram was sent to Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin, and carried up the Mississippi River to St. Paul by steamboat. On May 24, 1858, the state officers took their oaths of office, and Minnesota’s state government began to function.

This ended the long trek toward statehood, which had seen the area of the state of Minnesota under four nations: France, Spain, Great Britain and the United States, and under nine territories: Northwest, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin, Louisiana, Missouri, Iowa, and Minnesota.

CONGRESSIONAL ACT FOR THE ADMISSION OF MINNESOTA INTO THE UNION

[Passed May 11, 1858]

Whereas, An act of Congress was passed February twenty-sixth, eighteen hundred and fifty-seven, entitled “An act to authorize the people of the Territory of Minnesota to form a constitution and state government preparatory to their admission into the Union on an equal footing with the original states”; and, whereas, the people of said Territory did, on the twenty-ninth day of August, eighteen hundred and fifty-seven, by delegates elected for that purpose, form for themselves a constitution and state government, which is republican in form, and was ratified and adopted by the people at an election held on the thirteenth day of October, eighteen hundred and fifty-seven, for that purpose; therefore,

Sec. 1. Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America, in Congress assembled, That the State of Minnesota 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.

Sec. 2. And be it further enacted, That said State shall be entitled to two representatives in Congress, until the next apportionment of representatives among the several states.

Sec. 3. And be it further enacted, That from and after the admission of the State of Minnesota, as hereinbefore provided, all the laws of the United States which are not locally inapplicable shall have the same force and effect within that State as in other States of the Union; and the said State is hereby constituted a judicial district of the United States, within which a district court, with like powers and jurisdiction as the district court of the United States for the district of Iowa, shall be established; the judge, attorney and marshal of the United States of the said district of Minnesota shall reside within the same, and shall be entitled to the same compensation as the judge, attorney and marshal of the district of Iowa; and in all cases of appeal or writ of error heretofore prosecuted and now pending in the supreme court of the United States, upon any record from the supreme court of Minnesota Territory, the mandate of execution or order of further proceedings shall be directed by the supreme court of the United States to the district court of the United States for the district of Minnesota, or to the supreme court of the State of Minnesota, as the nature of such appeal or writ of error may require; and each of those courts shall be the successor of the supreme court of Minnesota Territory, as to all such cases, with full power to hear and determine the same, and to award mesne or final process therein.

Last updated: 6/1/2009 2:52:59 PM