Iowa Boundary Debate

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Time Frame: 1845

Iowa fought the U.S. Congress to establish state boundaries in 1845.
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“The Path to Statehood,” The Iowa Heritage: Program # 3, Iowa Public Television, 1978.

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Transcript

Of greatest importance of Iowa’s struggle to gain an admission into the Union, was the question of boundaries. Former Governor Lucas was now Delegate Lucas of the First Constitutional Convention and Chairmen on the Committee of Boundaries. This is the shape of the future state of Iowa he proposed. These boundaries were accepted by the Convention, the document was sent to the United States Congress for approvable. Congress approved the document, except…

This is an outrage. They have reduced the state’s area by almost a third.

They are the United State Congress and they think they can do what they please. If the people of Iowa don’t accept these boundaries, then we may have lost our chance to become a state.

In any case, it is up to the people of the Territory to decide.

In April of 1845, the Constitution was put before the people to ratify or reject it and statehood. In a very close election, the Constitution was rejected, mainly because of the boundaries set by Congress. Believing that Congress might be willing to reconsider the boundaries question a new Constitutional Convention was called for May of 1846. They changed the boundaries to the form of the present day Iowa, and with few exceptions, left the document as it was written in 1844. Congress and the people of Iowa accepted the Constitution with the new boundaries.

 


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