From Ohio History Central
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By the early 1800s, many people residing in the Northwest Territory in the area that would become modern-day Ohio hoped to become an official state within the United States of America. Most people who supported statehood belonged to the Democratic-Republican Party. Opponents to statehood generally supported the Federalist Party. At this point in time, the Federalist Party controlled most important government positions in the Northwest Territory, including the governor's seat held by Arthur St. Clair. St. Clair hoped to have Ohio's western boundary located at the Scioto River, while members of the Democratic-Republican Party, led by Thomas Worthington, Michael Baldwin, Edward Tiffin, and Nathaniel Massie, preferred the boundary set forth in the Northwest Ordinance. The Federalists believed that they could remain in control of government in the Northwest Territory and Ohio if the state remained relatively small. To become a state, a territory had to have sixty thousand people living in its borders. Neither section, if the Federalists had their way, would have the required population to apply for statehood. This would allow the Federalists, currently in control of government positions in the Northwest Territory, to retain power.
The Democratic-Republicans asked the federal government for help. In January 1802, the United States Congress rejected St. Clair's plan. The House of Representatives formed a committee to determine exactly how and when Ohio should apply for statehood. Although Ohio only had 45,365 citizens according to the census of 1800, the House committee determined that the population already had or probably would exceed sixty thousand people by the time Ohio adopted a state constitution. The House of Representatives and Senate agreed with the committee's findings and sent the Enabling Act to President Thomas Jefferson for approval. Jefferson, a Democratic-Republican, signed the Enabling Act of 1802 on April 30, 1802. This act called for the admittance of Ohio as a formal state within the United States as soon as possible.
The Enabling Act set Ohio's boundaries. The eastern boundary was to be at the Pennsylvania state line; the southern border at the Ohio River; the western border would begin where the Great Miami River flows into the Ohio River and extend due northward to the southern tip of Lake
Erie; and the northern boundary would basically be the border with Canada. The act also set the date for a constitutional convention, November 1, 1802, and determined how delegates were to be elected to the convention.''' '''
In November 1802, thirty-five delegates met at Ohio's constitutional convention to draft a state constitution. In order for Ohio to become a state, representatives of the territory had to submit a constitution to the United States Congress for approval. This was the final requirement under the Northwest Ordinance that Ohio had to meet before becoming a state.
The State of Ohio celebrates Ohio statehood on March 1. The reason for this is because the Ohio General Assembly met for the first time on this day in 1803. In reality, Ohio became a state on February 19, 1803, when President Jefferson endorsed the United States Congress's decision to grant Ohio statehood.
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