Indiana is celebrating 200 years of statehood. On Dec. 11, 1816, President James Madison signed a congressional act admitting Indiana into the Union as the 19th state. The origin of our state’s name dates back to when settlers first made this territory their home, as it was known as the “The Land of the Indians.
In celebration of Indiana’s birthday and to tout what our great state offers, each of Indiana’s 92 counties is hosting events throughout the bicentennial year. These events are to not only attract tourists, but for Hoosiers to enjoy and learn about their community’s rich history.
The Bicentennial Torch Relay kicks off Sept. 9 in Corydon, and torchbearers will travel 3,200 miles over 80 days. The torch will travel through Crawford, Perry and Spencer counties Sept. 9-10 and through Dubois and Orange counties on Sept. 14. From Civil War reenactments to a recitation of the Gettysburg Address by our very own Abraham Lincoln, you will not want to miss out on these events that celebrate our history and heritage. A full list of these events with details can be found by visiting www.in.gov/ibc/torchrelay and clicking on the “Torch Relay Events” tab.
In the months before gaining statehood, the summer heat in 1816 caused 43 men responsible for writing the state’s constitution in Corydon to move outdoors and work beneath the shade of a giant elm tree. The delegates were from all backgrounds. There were lawyers, doctors, surveyors, farmers and merchants from all across the territory. One of the most important provisions in the 1816 constitution was Article 8, Section 1, which expressly forbade the introduction of slavery and was written in such a way to prevent slavery from ever being permitted in our state. These men worked throughout the summer and they adopted the constitution on the June 29, by a simple majority vote of 33-8.
It is important to keep those in mind who helped our fledgling state turn into a model for the rest of the nation during our bicentennial year. I hope many of you will join me as we celebrate everything that has made Indiana a great place to live, work and explore for the last 200 years.
As we celebrate Indiana’s bicentennial year, please contact me with questions or input at 317-232-9793 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Learn more about the work being done at the Statehouse by signing up to receive my email updates at www.in.gov/h74.
State Rep. Lloyd Arnold (R-Leavenworth) represents portions of Spencer, Dubois, Perry, Crawford and Orange counties.
A high-resolution photo of Arnold can be downloaded by clicking here.