1817: David Holmes becomes Mississippi’s first governor

Governor David Holmes (MDAH Collection)
Governor David Holmes

Holmes served from 1817 to 1820.

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March 1, 1817: President James Madison signs enabling act admitting Mississippi to Union

State of Mississippi and Alabama Territory (MDAH Collection)
State of Mississippi and Alabama Territory, ca. 1817

The western part of the Mississippi Territory became a state, and the eastern half became the Alabama Territory.

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July 1817: Mississippi holds first constitutional convention

Assembled in Washington, Mississippi, 48 delegates wrote a conservative document concentrating power in the hands of the privileged few. According to the constitution, only white property owners or members of the militia would have the right to vote in the new state of Mississippi.

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December 10, 1817: Mississippi becomes twentieth state

Twenty Star United States Flag
Twenty Star United States Flag

The United States House and Senate adopted the new constitution, and on December 10 President Monroe signed a joint resolution admitting Mississippi as a state. Natchez was designated state capital, and territorial governor David Holmes was elected Mississippi’s first governor.

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