Two hundred eleven years ago Ohio became the 17th state in our nation. President Thomas Jefferson allowed Ohio to apply for statehood in April 1802 when he signed the Enabling Act into law. Later that year a state constitutional convention was held, and on February 19, 1803, President Jefferson approved and signed the first Ohio Constitution.
We officially celebrate Ohio’s birth as a state on March 1, 1803, when the General Assembly gathered for the first time to meet in Chillicothe, the new state capital. Statehood Day is a good time to reflect on our history and the founders who established our governing principles. These principles developed over time, and often were determined by the judiciary.
For example, in an early case, the Supreme Court of Ohio was called upon in 1807 to decide the extent of the authority given by the constitution to the state’s legislature. In Rutherford v. McFadden, the Court asserted its right to nullify an unconstitutional act of the General Assembly.
The Ohio Historical Society will hold its annual Statehood Day event at the Ohio Statehouse on Thursday, February 27. The keynote luncheon speaker is Erin Moriarty, an Ohio native and reporter for CBS News.
On whatever day we remember Ohio’s birth, let us strive to ensure that it will stay healthy to celebrate many, many more.