Did you know that Ohio became a state in 1953. . . effective 150 years earlier?
The Buckeye State, The Mother of Presidents, the 17th State- all these refer to Ohio. Originally part of territory owned by Great Britain, once the War for Independence was over the Ohio Territory was incorporated as part of the Northwest Territory.
In December of 1801, a document of all the people in the Ohio territory was given to Congress. Supporters of Ohio statehood wanted it to become a state, however, the document showed roughly 45,000 people lived there, when they needed 60,000. Statehood supporters argued that their population would soon reach the needed number and the House of Representatives created a committee to determine if Ohio should become a state.
Once the committee determined that Ohio had enough people in the territory, a bill enabling Ohio to form a constitution and state government was reported to the House. On April 9, 1802, the bill passed the House and passed the Senate after some changes were made in a conference committee. It was signed into law on April 30, 1802. In November 1802, the people in the eastern portion of the Northwest Territory met to form the allowed constitution and state government. The Ohio constitution was adopted on November 29, 1802, and it, along with a letter from Agent Thomas Worthington and the Address of the Convention, was sent to Congress as qualification for statehood. In February 1803, Congress passed an act stating Ohio’s adopted constitution was in accordance with their 1802 enabling act and declared federal law to be enforced in the new state of Ohio.
Jump ahead 150 years, and Ohio is about to celebrate its statehood sesquicentennial. In 1952, historians prepping for this celebration went to the Library of Congress to get the documents that made Ohio a state. However, they couldn’t find any. This stemmed from the fact that Congress ordered federal law to be enforced but never declared Ohio to be a state. So here was Ohio, supposed to be celebrating their sesquicentennial but instead finding out that they weren’t technically a state.
In law everything can be challenged and even a minute technicality can void a decision. This would mean that 8 of the 34 (at the time) presidents were void and any decisions they had made invalid. Dozens of federal judges and other appointees were technically not allowed either. Senators and Representatives weren’t allowed in Congress and anything these people voted on or determined were nullified.
So, to fix the problem, Congressman George H. Bender, a Republican from Ohio, decided to undertake a little legal time travel. In 1953, Bender introduced a joint resolution that allowed Ohio to be a state in 1803, ridding Ohio and the federal government of the problem. Eventually approved in the U.S. House of Representatives on May 19, 1953 and signed by President Eisenhower on August 7. Ohio became a state in 1953, effective 150 years earlier.
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