To The Editor:
I’m not sure who wrote the “History Brief” in the August 22 Missourian, but “When did Missouri become part of the United States?” is a bit of a misleading question, and the answer incomplete.
The area of land, and the residents thereof now called Missouri, became United States territory on April 30, 1803, with the signature of the Louisiana Purchase in France. Government being slow, though, the Upper Louisiana Territory did not officially go from Spain to France to the United States of America until “Three Flags Day,” March 10, 1804, at St. Louis.
On April 4, 1812, the “Missouri Territory” was carved from Upper Louisiana, and statehood achieved on Aug. 10, 1821 — except for the northwestern six counties — the Platte Purchase — bought from Indian nations between 1833 and 1837, for $7,500 with final approval of the treaty and transfer by president Martin Van Buren on March 28, 1837.
History is more complex that the space allowed for a newspaper filler, but that complexity is a reminder that there is no “us” and no “them” — all of history and government is just a record of fallible humans, bumbling their way to sometimes glorious and sometimes ignoble conclusions.