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Michigan's application for admission to the Union had brought to a head an old quarrel with Ohio about their common boundary. The southern line of Michigan had been determined by the Northwest Ordinance of 1787 and reaffirmed by Congress in 1805; it touched Lake Erie at Maumee Bay. Ohio had objected strongly because it wanted all of Maumee Bay, where Toledo was developing. Ohio was taken into the Union in 1803 without this northern boundary finally determined. Legal and moral right in 1835 were still clearly on the side of Michigan, as the U. S. attorney general advised President Jackson; however, Jackson recommended that Michigan wait until December and let Congress settle the matter. This was politically naive, since Ohio was represented in Congress and Michigan was not. Mason rejected the proposal and called out the militia. Jackson thereupon removed his appointee from office as Territorial governor at the end of August 1835, but he was promptly elected governor under the new state constitution.

During 1836 the United States Senate sought to break the deadlock by establishing Wisconsin Territory and detaching the northeastern portion as compensation to Michigan—the present Upper Peninsula. In brief, the state was offered 22,600 square miles of timber, copper, and iron lands in exchange for 468 square miles of flat land around Toledo and west to the Indiana line. The "consolation" prize, or bribe, was added to the bill to admit Michigan, provided that a special convention of the people would accept the Ohio boundary as decreed by Ohio. Michigan citizens objected furiously to both clauses: the southern area wanted the Toledo strip, and Sault St. Marie hoped to belong to a separate and new Territory of Huron, embracing the Upper Peninsula. A special convention met in Ann Arbor in September 1836 and rejected the proposal from Congress, even though Governor Mason and Senator Lyon reluctantly changed their minds and advised acceptance.

Since matters continued at an impasse, a second convention, also held in Ann Arbor, was called by Jackson Ian Democrats in December 1836, no doubt without legal sanction, and dubbed the "Frostbitten Convention” by its opponents. This convention assented to the boundaries prescribed by Congress. Unnoted by anyone was a phrase that Isaac Carry had slipped into the act of admission: sale of the lands set aside for public schools as well as those for the University was put in the hands of the state, not the townships or counties which might dissipate the money improperly.

Meanwhile, at a special convention of the legislature in July 1836, Governor Mason appointed John D. Pierce, with legislative consent, to be superintendent of public instruction—a constitutional office new in state government. He was directed to submit a plan for common schools and for a university with branches at the next session. Pierce sold his house in Marshall and spent several weeks in the East studying education systems.

On January 26,1837, Michigan was formally and belatedly admitted to the Union by a relieved Congress as the twenty-sixth state. It now had a population of 175,000—twenty-two counties were organized, and Detroit was a city of 10,000. The time was overdue to provide for higher education, in fulfillment of Woodward's grand design.

The Making of the University of Michigan

Howard Peckham

Michigan Receives Statehood

The University of Michigan

Moves to Ann Arbor