List of U.S. states by date of admission to the Union
A state of the United States of America is one of the 50 constituent entities that shares its sovereignty with the federal government. Americans are citizens of both the federal republic and of the state in which they reside, due to the shared sovereignty between each state and the federal government. Kentucky, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, and Virginia use the term commonwealth rather than state in their full official names.
States are the primary subdivisions of the United States and possess a number of powers and rights under the United States Constitution, such as regulating intrastate commerce, running elections, creating local governments, and ratifying constitutional amendments. Each state has its own constitution grounded in republican principles, and government consisting of executive, legislative, and judicial branches.
All states and their residents are represented in the federal Congress, a bicameral legislature consisting of the Senate and the House of Representatives. Each state is represented by two Senators, while Representatives are distributed among the states in proportion to the most recent constitutionally mandated decennial census. Additionally, each state is entitled to select a number of electors to vote in the Electoral College, the body that elects the President of the United States, equal to the total of Representatives and Senators in Congress from that state.
Article IV, Section 3, Clause 1 of the Constitution grants to Congress the authority to admit new states into the Union. Since the establishment of the United States in 1776, the number of states has expanded from the original 13 to 50. Each new state has been admitted on an equal footing with the existing states.
The following table is a list of all 50 states and their respective dates of statehood. The first 13 became states in July 1776 upon agreeing to the Declaration of Independence, and each joined the first Union of states between 1777 and 1781, upon ratifying the Articles of Confederation, its first constitution. (A separate table is included below showing AoC ratification dates.) These states are presented in the order in which each ratified the 1787 Constitution, thus joining the present federal Union of states. The date of admission listed for each subsequent state is the official date set by Act of Congress.
List of U.S. states
|State||Order||Date of admission||Formed from|
|Delaware||1||December 7, 1787||Crown Colony of Delaware|
|Pennsylvania||2||December 12, 1787||Crown Colony of Pennsylvania|
|New Jersey||3||December 18, 1787||Crown Colony of New Jersey|
|Georgia||4||January 2, 1788||Crown Colony of Georgia|
|Connecticut||5||January 9, 1788||Crown Colony of Connecticut|
|Massachusetts||6||February 6, 1788||Crown Colony of Massachusetts Bay|
|Maryland||7||April 28, 1788||Crown Colony of Maryland|
|South Carolina||8||May 23, 1788||Crown Colony of South Carolina|
|New Hampshire||9||June 21, 1788||Crown Colony of New Hampshire|
|Virginia||10||June 25, 1788||Crown Colony of Virginia|
|New York||11||July 26, 1788||Crown Colony of New York|
|North Carolina||12||November 21, 1789||Crown Colony of North Carolina|
|Rhode Island||13||May 29, 1790||Crown Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations|
|Vermont||14||March 4, 1791||Vermont Republic (also known as the New Hampshire Grants)|
|Kentucky||15||June 1, 1792||Virginia (District of Kentucky: Fayette, Jefferson, and Lincoln counties)|
|Tennessee||16||June 1, 1796||Southwest Territory|
|Ohio||17||March 1, 1803||Northwest Territory (part)|
|Louisiana||18||April 30, 1812||Territory of Orleans|
|Indiana||19||December 11, 1816||Indiana Territory|
|Mississippi||20||December 10, 1817||Mississippi Territory|
|Illinois||21||December 3, 1818||Illinois Territory (part)|
|Alabama||22||December 14, 1819||Alabama Territory|
|Maine||23||March 15, 1820||Massachusetts (District of Maine)|
|Missouri||24||August 10, 1821||Missouri Territory (part)|
|Arkansas||25||June 15, 1836||Arkansas Territory|
|Michigan||26||January 26, 1837||Michigan Territory|
|Florida||27||March 3, 1845||Florida Territory|
|Texas||28||December 29, 1845||Republic of Texas|
|Iowa||29||December 28, 1846||Iowa Territory (part)|
|Wisconsin||30||May 29, 1848||Wisconsin Territory (part)|
|California||31||September 9, 1850||unorganized territory (part)|
|Minnesota||32||May 11, 1858||Minnesota Territory (part)|
|Oregon||33||February 14, 1859||Oregon Territory (part)|
|Kansas||34||January 29, 1861||Kansas Territory (part)|
|West Virginia||35||June 20, 1863||Virginia (Trans-Allegheny region counties)|
|Nevada||36||October 31, 1864||Nevada Territory|
|Nebraska||37||March 1, 1867||Nebraska Territory|
|Colorado||38||August 1, 1876||Colorado Territory|
|North Dakota||39||November 2, 1889||Dakota Territory (part)|
|South Dakota||40||Dakota Territory (part)|
|Montana||41||November 8, 1889||Montana Territory|
|Washington||42||November 11, 1889||Washington Territory|
|Idaho||43||July 3, 1890||Idaho Territory|
|Wyoming||44||July 10, 1890||Wyoming Territory|
|Utah||45||January 4, 1896||Utah Territory|
|Oklahoma||46||November 16, 1907||Oklahoma Territory and Indian Territory|
|New Mexico||47||January 6, 1912||New Mexico Territory|
|Arizona||48||February 14, 1912||Arizona Territory|
|Alaska||49||January 3, 1959||Territory of Alaska|
|Hawaii||50||August 21, 1959||Territory of Hawaii|
Articles of Confederation ratification dates
The Second Continental Congress approved the Articles of Confederation for ratification by the individual states on November 15, 1777. The Articles of Confederation came into force on March 1, 1781, after being ratified by all 13 states. On March 4, 1789, the general government under the Articles was replaced with the federal government under the present Constitution.
|Virginia||1||December 16, 1777|
|South Carolina||2||February 5, 1778|
|New York||3||February 6, 1778|
|Rhode Island||4||February 9, 1778|
|Connecticut||5||February 12, 1778|
|Georgia||6||February 26, 1778|
|New Hampshire||7||March 4, 1778|
|Pennsylvania||8||March 5, 1778|
|Massachusetts||9||March 10, 1778|
|North Carolina||10||April 5, 1778|
|New Jersey||11||November 19, 1778|
|Delaware||12||February 1, 1779|
|Maryland||13||February 2, 1781|
- Enabling Act of 1802, authorizing residents of the eastern portion of the Northwest Territory to form the state of Ohio
- Missouri Compromise, 1820 federal statute enabling the admission of Missouri (a slave state) and Maine (a free state) into the Union
- Toledo War, 1835–36 boundary dispute between Ohio and the adjoining Michigan Territory, which delayed Michigan's admission to the Union
- Texas annexation, the 1845 incorporation of the Republic of Texas into the United States as a state in the Union
- Compromise of 1850, a package of congressional acts, one of which provided for the admission of California to the Union
- Bleeding Kansas, a series of violent conflicts in Kansas Territory involving anti-slavery and pro-slavery factions in the years preceding Kansas statehood, 1854–61
- Enabling Act of 1889, authorizing residents of Dakota, Montana, and Washington territories to form state governments (Dakota to be divided into two states) and to gain admission to the Union
- Enabling Act of 1906 authorizing residents of Oklahoma, Indian, New Mexico, and Arizona territories to form state governments (Indian and Oklahoma territories to be combined into one state) and to gain admission to the Union
- Alaska Statehood Act, admitting Alaska as a state in the Union as of January 3, 1959
- Hawaii Admission Act, admitting Hawaii as a state in the Union as of August 21, 1959
- This list does not account for the secession of 11 states (Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee, Arkansas, Louisiana, and Texas) during the Civil War to form the Confederate States of America, nor for the subsequent restoration of those states to the Union, or each state's "readmission to representation in Congress" after the war, as the federal government does not give legal recognition to their having left the Union. Also, the Constitution is silent on the question of whether states have the power to secede from the Union, but the Supreme Court held that a state cannot unilaterally do so in Texas v. White (1869).
- Also known as the "Three Lower Counties Upon Delaware." Delaware became a state on June 15, 1776, when the Delaware Assembly formally adopted a resolution declaring an end to Delaware's status as a colony of Great Britain and establishing the three counties as an independent state under the authority of "the Government of the Counties of New Castle, Kent and Sussex Upon Delaware."
- Between 1749 and 1764 the provincial governor of New Hampshire, Benning Wentworth, issued approximately 135 grants for unoccupied land claimed by New Hampshire west of the Connecticut River (in what is today southern Vermont), territory that was also claimed by New York. The resulting dispute led to the rise of the Green Mountain Boys and the later establishment of the Vermont Republic. New Hampshire's claim upon the land was extinguished in 1764 by royal order of George III, and in 1790 the State of New York ceded its New Hampshire Grants claim to Vermont for 30,000 Dollars.
- The Virginia General Assembly adopted legislation on December 18, 1789 separating its "District of Kentucky" from the rest of the State and approving its statehood.
- The exact date upon which Ohio became a state is unclear. On April 30, 1802 the 7th Congress had passed an act "authorizing the inhabitants of Ohio to form a Constitution and state government, and admission of Ohio into the Union." (Sess. 1, ch. 40, 2 Stat. 173) On February 19, 1803 the same Congress passed an act "providing for the execution of the laws of the United States in the State of Ohio." (Sess. 2, ch. 7, 2 Stat. 201) Neither act, however, set a formal date of statehood. An official statehood date for Ohio was not set until 1953, when the 83rd Congress passed a Joint resolution "for admitting the State of Ohio into the Union", (Pub.L. 83–204, 67 Stat. 407, enacted August 7, 1953) which designated March 1, 1803, as that date.
- The Massachusetts General Court passed enabling legislation on June 19, 1819 separating the "District of Maine" from the rest of the State (an action approved by the voters in Maine on July 19, 1819 by 17,001 to 7,132); then, on February 25, 1820, passed a follow-up measure officially accepting the fact of Maine's imminent statehood.
- On May 13, 1862, the General Assembly of the Restored Government of Virginia passed an act granting permission for creation of West Virginia. Later, by its ruling in Virginia v. West Virginia (1871), the Supreme Court implicitly affirmed that the breakaway Virginia counties did have the proper consents necessary to become a separate state.
- When President Benjamin Harrison signed the statehood proclamations for North and South Dakota he shuffled the papers on his desk and covered up all but the signature line of the documents. No one knows which state he signed into existence first. North Dakota's proclamation was published first in the Statutes at Large, as it is first in alphabetical order.
- Brought into existence within moments of each other on the same day, North and South Dakota are the nation's only twin-born states.
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- "A State of Convenience: The Creation of West Virginia, Chapter Twelve, Reorganized Government of Virginia Approves Separation". Wvculture.org. West Virginia Division of Culture and History.
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