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and White Earth rivers, to the territory of Michigan "for the purpose of temporary government." By this action Minnesota east and Minnesota west were again temporarily brought under the same local government. On April 20, 1836, while events were rapidly shaping for the early entrance of Michigan into the Union, Congress set apart all the territory from Lake Michigan west to the Missouri and White Earth rivers, and from Illinois and Missouri north to the Canadian border, as the organized territory of Wisconsin.28 United under the territorial government of Michigan since 1834, Minnesota east and Minnesota west continued now to be united under the territory of Wisconsin for two more years. The union was ended by the act of June 12, 1838, which created the organized territory of Iowa, comprising all of the Wisconsin territory west of the Mississippi.29 During the next ten years "the Minnesota country," as it was coming to be called, continued to be divided. Minnesota east was in this period a portion of St. Croix county, Wisconsin, and as such it helped to elect representatives to the territorial legislature and to the two constitutional conventions of 1846 and 1847.30 Minnesota west, on the other hand, was a part of Clayton county, Iowa, which was almost an empire in area. Henry H. Sibley served as a justice of the peace in this vast territory for several years.31
5. THE NORTHERN BOUNDARY OF Iowa.32 Iowa had hardly become organized as a territory before there arose a strong agitation for statehood. This movement, as well as the boundary dispute with Missouri, lies beyond the scope of this essay. It is sufficient to say that Iowa had but one fixed and certain boundary, the Mississippi river on the east. On the south, west, and north the boundaries of the future state had yet to be defined, and there were strong factions within the territory favoring each of the several proposed solutions. In 1844 a convention drew up a constitution which in 1845 was twice submitted to the people. This document fixed the northern limits of the proposed state by a line from “the mouth of the Sioux or Calumet River” on the Missouri, "in a direct line to the middle of the main channel of the St. Peters [Minnesota) River, where the Watonwan River (according to Nicollet's map) enters the same; thence down the middle of the main channel of said river to the middle of the main channel of the Mississippi River; thence down the middle of the main channel of said river to the place of beginning" at the northeastern corner of Missouri,33 This plan would have given Iowa a magnificent territory from the Mississippi to the Missouri, and north to
Stat, al Large, 5:10; Laws of the U. S., 9:310. 20 Stat, at Large, 5:235; Laws of the U. S., 9:769. 80 Folwell. Minnesota, p. 85. 81 Minn. Hist. Col., 3:265-66. 82 See maps, p. 15. 89 Shambaugh, History of the Constitutions of Iowa, pp. 234-40; Minn. in Three Cen., 2:335-36.
MAP NO. 2. NORTHERN BOUNDARY OF JOWA PROPOSED BY THE IOWA CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION OF 1844
and twice rejected by the voters of lowa, along with the proposed state constitution, in 1845.
XAP NO. 3.
BOUNDARIES OF IOWA PROPOSED BY THE ACT OF CONGRESS OF MARCH 3, 1845, and rejected
by the voters of Iowa.
the Minnesota river. There had been other schemes, also, one of which would have pushed the northern boundary of Iowa to the forty-fifth parallel of north latitude, and another of which would have left it at the forty-second parallel. Before the constitution was submitted to them, however, the people of Iowa were apprised of the act of Congress of March 3, 1845, providing an entirely different set of boundaries and making the admission of the state dependent upon popular ratification of the proposed limits. Briefly speaking, the proposed boundaries extended the state up the Mississippi “to a parallel of latitude passing through the mouth of the Mankato, or Blue Earth river, thence west along the said parallel of latitude to a point where it is intersected by a meridian line, seventeen degrees and thirty minutes west of the meridian of Washington City, thence due south to the northern boundary line of the State of Missouri,” and thence to the point of beginning. This proposal evoked strong opposition among Iowans generally, without distinction of party. Criticism of the constitution, already begun, was redoubled. The Whig minority in the territory, which had from the first manifested its opposition to the constitution, was joined by a group of insurgent Democrats. In the end the constitution was defeated, but by only 996 votes.35 Another attempt to have this instrument approved by the people, independent of the act of Congress and its obnoxious boundaries, was made later in the year, but again the people expressed their disapproval, this time by a reduced majority. Clearly enough, it was not so much the boundaries proposed by Congress as the constitution itself which the people refused to accept.
In 1846 the people of Iowa once more proceeded to make a constitution.36 The convention which met for only fifteen days in May, 1846, agreed upon a compromise northern boundary at 43° 30' north latitude, while the proposed state was extended westward to the Missouri and Big Sioux rivers. This was the boundary which the people had instructed their delegate in Congress, Mr. A. C. Dodge, to support, and it enclosed a territory as extensive as the people dared hope to receive, in view of Congress' opposition to excessively large states. This time they were not disappointed. On August 4 the boundary act became federal law.87 The people were not, however, overmuch pleased with the new constitution, which embodied the new limits. It was adopted by the narrow margin of 456 votes in a total of over eighteen
84 Stat. at Large, 5:742. The "parallel of latitude passing through the mouth of the Mankato river," would leave the Mississippi river at a point near Whitman, some miles north of Winona, and in its passage westward would pass north of the cities of Rochester, Owatonna, and Waseca, and through the city of Mankato. The northwest angle of the proposed state would have been a little north and west of Hanska, in Brown county. The western boundary on the meridian of 17° 30' west of Washington would have passed east of St. James, but would have included the present city of Fairmont within the state. See map, p. 15.
85 Shambaugh, op. cit., pp. 256 ff.; Minn. in Three Cen., 2:335-39.
thousand. On December 28, 1846, Iowa was, after much tribulation, ad-
6. THE WESTERN BOUNDARY OF WISCONSIN.38 The eastern boundary of the
The region west of the Mississippi river was a part of Wisconsin terri-
Nevertheless, when the first constitutional convention met in Madison in October, 1846, an attempt was made still further to restrict the territory of Wisconsin on the west.42 The settlers in the St. Croix valley and those farther west, as at St. Paul, were already dreaming of a separate state. They felt that the whole of the St. Croix and Chippewa river valleys had little
* See maps. pp. 18, 20. An adequate account of the evolution at this boundary will be found in Minn, in Three Cen., 2:339-48.
30 Section 14, article V, of the Northwest Ordinance contained the provision that "There shall
40 Stat, at Large, 9:56.
MAP NO. 4. NORTH WESTERN BOUNDARY OF WISCONSIN FROM THE HEADWATERS OF THE MONTREAL RIVER TO MOUNT TREMPEALEAU, PROPOSED BY WILLIAM HOLCOMBE in the Wisconsin constitutional convention of 1846 and by George W. Brownell in the convention of 1847,
and rejected by both conventions.
MAP NO. 5. WESTERN BOUNDARY OF WISCONSIN PROPOSED BY THE WISCONSIN CONSTITUTIONAL CONVEN. TION OF 1846. This line (substantially due south) would have begun at the first rapids in the St. Louis river, and would have run thence due south to the St. Croix river, thence to a point fifteen miles east of the most easterly point of Lake St. Croix, and thence due south to the Mississippi river
or Lake Pepin.