223 Years Old: #HappyBirthdayKentucky

On June 1, 1792, Kentucky became the 15th state admitted to the United States. Formed entirely from the Commonwealth of Virginia, the Commonwealth of Kentucky was the first state located wholly west of the Allegheny mountains.

This distance and location played a major role in the coming of Kentucky's statehood. In 1776, residents of the area gathered at Harrodsburg seeking the creation of the Kentucky county so that residents might be recognized as truly a part of Virginia and not just "a detached people" as was the case in the eyes of Virginia's leadership.

Discontent with governance in Richmond grew and constitutional conventions began in Kentucky as early as 1784. With the Revolutionary War in the past, the import of local governance could become the focus of those on the frontier. It would take until the 10th constitutional convention before success would ensure, and that was followed by the need for admission by Congress into the Union.

 
For more on how Kentucky's road to statehood, discover the book of the same title by Lowell H. Harrison: Kentucky's Road to Statehood.

Admission into the Union and Vermont

Northerners, however, were concerned that a north/south balance would be lost with Kentucky's admission, but this was relieved with discussion of Vermont's admission as the 14th state.
With the support of President Washington, Congress passed an Act admitting Kentucky int the Union on February 4, 1791. The Act set June 1, 1792 as Kentucky's Statehood Day. Although Congress passed Vermont's admission (2/17/1791) after it did so for Kentucky, the Act related to Vermont's admission set the Green Mountain State's Statehood Day as being Macrch 4, 1791.

If the law relating to Kentucky's admission had been drafted a bit differently, we'd have been the 14th state and the first admitted after the original 13 Colonies. But being the 15th state is awesome because of this:

The Star Spangled Banner

Star Spangled Banner and the Kentucky Flag
The Star Spangled Banner. The flag that represented our nation during the War of 1812 and flew over Fort McHenry when Francis Scott Key penned the words to our national anthem. The "broad stripes and bright stars" each counted to the number of fifteen under the Flag Act of 1794.

The Flag Act of 1818 reduced the number of stripes on the national anthem to 13 and increased the number of stars to 20 with subsequent increases for each new state admitted into the Union.

Unofficially, the 15 star American flag was utilized by the Commonwealth as her own banner. That is, until 1918 when Jesse Cox Burgess' design was adopted by the General Assembly as the official Kentucky state flag.

So waive your banner high, lift a glass of bourbon and join me in wishing our Commonwealth a "Happy Birthday, Kentucky!"


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