Ohio Statehood Day

Ohio River

Greetings from your friendly neighborhood history teacher and fellow proud Ohioan!  Today we’ll be discussing Ohio Statehood Day.

Celebrating Ohio

We all know that when it comes to our Buckeye State, we are proud to live here and how could we not be? We have some of the most consistent, wonderful weather and the roads are never under construction, and…..Wait, you still reading? I had to make sure.

Despite our unpredictable weather and plenty of decorative orange barrels, Ohio has so many unique experiences to offer. After all, this is why FindingOhio exists in the first place.

Ohio Statehood Day

But we aren’t the only ones celebrating. There’s a whole day to celebrate Ohio’s existence, and it is coming up Monday, March 1st, 2021!  

Now, maybe you had no idea that Ohio even had a celebrated “Statehood Day.” That might also be because the last time you learned about Ohio History was in the 4th grade. So before I tell you how to celebrate this important day, let’s dig into a brief summary of the “why.”  

Ohio’s statehood actually caused great controversy, as well as a heap of political drama. It might have even put the 2020 election season to shame.

How Ohio Became a State – A Brief History

We’ll begin with the key players. First, there were the Federalists of the Northwest Territory, led by governor Arthur St. Clair. The opposing party, the Deocratic-Republican Party, was led by people like Thomas Worthington, Michael Baldwin, Edward Tiffin, and Nathaniel Massie (some of those names may sound familiar).

The key to the controversy was the number of people required to make the switch from “territory” to “state.” The Northwest Ordinance of 1787 set the requirement at 60,000 people. Ohio only had about 45,000 residing within its territory at the time of this debate (1800-1802).

St. Clair and the Federalists knew if Ohio became a state, they would lose control over the territory. A Constitution would be drafted and leaders elected. So, he proposed drawing the Western border of Ohio at the Scioto River. This way neither section of Ohio would gain enough settlers to be considered for Statehood. If he would’ve succeeded, Ohio would be missing essentially everything Northwest of Columbus!  

The Democratic-Republicans asked for government help. The government agreed to start the process toward statehood on the grounds that Ohio would probably have the necessary 60,000 by the time the statehood process was completed. After several more attempts to stop the process, St. Clair was ultimately defeated. Ohio officially became a state on March 1, 1803 as the 17th state in the Union.

Celebrate Ohio Statehood Day

So really, our statehood story is quite a scandal!  If you’re still with me after the history lesson, here’s how you can celebrate Ohio Statehood Day 2021:  

Monday, March 1st: Register (FREE) for Virtual Ohio Statehood Day activities via the Ohio History Connection (https://www.ohiohistory.org/participate/event-calendar/statehood-day)

This year’s virtual option includes a discussion on “The Power of History During Historic Times”         

Looking for more ways to celebrate Ohio history? Check out our Ohio Histories page on site.

Marina Rarick has been a resident of Ohio her entire life. In addition to writing, she is a high school history teacher with a passion for our beautiful state. She lives in the Columbus area with her fiance, Jeff, and orange tabby cat, Maple.