Final Steps & A Constitution
Longtime governor Lewis Cass resigned the position in 1831 to become President Andrew Jackson's Secretary of War, a post which placed Cass in the position of enforcing Jackson's Indian removal policies. Cass's replacement as governor was George Bryan Porter. Also in 1831, a young Stevens T. Mason was appointed secretary of the Michigan Territory, replacing his father John Mason. Frequently throughout Porter's governorship, his absences led to Mason acting as governor in many situations. Porter's death in 1835 led to Mason's appointment as governor of the territory. Mason swiftly took action in moving Michigan to statehood as several petitions to Congress for statehood had been denied earlier in the decade.
In 1834, the Michigan Territory received another territorial addition. Remaining territory from the Louisiana Purchase east of the Missouri River and north of the State of Missouri were added to the Michigan Territory. Upon Stevens T. Mason taking office in 1835, he promptly ordered a census be taken to determine the population of the territory. As set up by the Northwest Ordinance, to be eligible for the third territorial developmental phase toward statehood, the Michigan Territory needed 60,000 people living in its boundaries. The census found 92,673 residents. The findings of the census prompted the election of delegates to a constitutional convention.
The Michigan constitution was drafted in May 1835 and passed by voters of the territory in October 1835. By December 1835, the U.S. Congress began a debate on the question of Michigan's statehood. Several issues delayed the admission of Michigan to the federal union. One cause for delay of Michigan's statehood was the admission of Arkansas as a southern slave state. Southern senators delayed Michigan's statehood because it had been practice to keep balance in the Senate by admitting one slave state and one free state simultaneously. Arkansas was admitted to the federal Union on June 5, 1836.
A persistent issue was the dispute between Michigan and Ohio over the area along their border known as the "Toldeo Strip." Both claimed the territory, though, as a state, Ohio had a voice in Congress to argue on their behalf. While Michigan had elected senators and a representative to send to Washington, they were not federally recognized and therefore had no chance to offer their side of the debate. A compromise bill was passed by Congress that gave Toldeo to Ohio and the remainder of the Upper Penninsula to Michigan. If the voters of the Michigan Territory approved the compromise, Michigan would join the federal union. On July 3, 1836, the Wisconsin Territory was established, reflecting the boundaries presented in compromise by Congress. In September 1836, elected delegates convened and signed a resolution consenting to the compromise and promptly sent a bill to Congress for the admission of Michigan to the union. Congress passed the bill in just days and on January 26, 1837 President Andrew Jackson signed the bill making Michigan the 26th state of the United States of America.