Everyone knows Missouri is called the “Show Me State”. But do you know the origins of the name of the state or the controversy surrounding Missouri’s stance on slavery when it entered the Union? Here are seven facts about Missouri history that you might not know. Test your knowledge and learn more about the 24th state to join the Union.
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1. “Missouri” is the name of a tribe of Sioux Indians that lived in the territory. The name means “town of the large canoes”.
2. Missouri became a part of the United States on August 10, 1821
, but it was not without controversy. In order to keep a balance of free and slave states in the Union, Missouri became a slave state and Maine a free state. Missourians were divided over the issue of slavery; once the Civil War started, some Missourians fought for the Union, while others joined the Confederate army.
3. Missouri became the first state to abolish slavery in 1865.
The state’s slaves were emancipated prior to the 13th Amendment.
4. The first public kindergarten opened in St. Louis, Missouri in 1873.
Founder Susan Blow had seen the success of kindergartens in Germany, and she decided to create something similar in the United States. The idea was to create a vibrant environment in which young children could learn while having fun. By 1879, St. Louis had 55 kindergarten classrooms.
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5. President Harry S. Truman was born in Lamar, Missouri, in 1884.
Before becoming the nation’s 33rd President, Truman served in the Missouri National Guard. He also ran a clothing store in Kansas City, later becoming a judge and winning a seat on the U.S. Senate. Truman was sworn in as President of the United States on April 12, 1945, following the death of President Franklin D. Roosevelt.
6. Charles Lindbergh’s plane, “The Spirit of St. Louis,” was named to honor a St. Louis businessman who paid for the plane to be built
. The single-engine aircraft took Lindbergh from Long Island, New York, to Paris in 1927, making him the first person to complete a nonstop solo flight across the Atlantic Ocean.
7. The Gateway Arch in St. Louis, Missouri is part of the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial
, which was named in honor of Thomas Jefferson and his role in western expansion. As a major city on the Mississippi River, St. Louis was an avenue by which traders and explorers headed to undeveloped territories. Architect Eero Saarinen designed the Gateway Arch, which was unveiled in 1965. Made of steel and concrete, it cost more than $13 million to build.
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