Michigan: A Territory's Growth to Statehood
With the adoption of the Northwest Ordinance in 1787, the territory that would become the State of Michigan was given a path to statehood through a series of phases. The phases were governed by the U.S. Congress and largely were tied to stages of territorial development such as population growth. This exhibit explores how Michigan followed the guidelines of the Northwest Ordinance to gain statehood from 1805 to 1837. The exhibit assesses the Michigan Territory's establishment in 1805 and its original appointed territorial government. Longtime territorial governor Lewis Cass is also addressed, along with the vast population growth of the territory in the 1820s and 1830s. A major step in development toward statehood was the popular election of representatives and a delegate to Congress. The exhibit then moves into the era of Stevens T. Mason and the young governor's leadership in the mid-1830s as Michigan made the final push toward statehood.