Important Michigan Historical Events


Every state in the Union has all-important moments which shine in its history. There are three that I think stand out for the state of Michigan.

Michigan Becomes a State

On January 26, 1837, Michigan became the 26th state of the Union. This happened because of a regional dispute between the state of Ohio (founded in 1803) and the territory of Michigan (incorporated in 1805).

Michigan would have become a state sooner than 1837, but a border dispute over 468 square miles of area (the Toledo Strip), situated along the Ohio and Michigan border, which both states claimed ownership of stopped everything. Both states made laws that penalized anyone claiming any type of citizenship to the other region.

From 1835-1836, the Toledo War, largely a bloodless border feud, simmered, but never quite happened. The impassibility of a mosquito-filled swamp acted as an obstacle. And it was because of this obstacle that the militias raised by the state of Ohio and the territory of Michigan never engaged. Finally, U.S Congress stepped in and allowed the state of Ohio ownership of the Toledo strip. Michigan became a state and acquired the Upper Peninsula.

Detroit Auto Industry is Born

The auto industry is a well known component of the Michigan economy and is typically known as “The Big Three.” The Big Three are General Motors, Chrysler LLC, and Ford Motor Company.

Henry Ford of Ford Motor Company and David Dunbar Buick of Buick Motor Company revolutionized automobiles during the industry’s younger days. Henry Ford was known for the creation of the innovative Ford Model T in 1908 via a cheaper and efficient way of putting together his version of an automobile. In addition to that, Henry Ford mass produced cars with great efficiency and made sure his Ford Model Ts were affordable. Henry Ford also introduced the concept of how cars would be driven on the roads, and influenced the building of the road system in the state of Michigan. He was appointed to the first road commission board in Michigan.

David Dunbar Buick, on the other hand, revolutionized the way engines were made. He created the valve-in-head overhead valve engine design which was more powerful than the side valve engine design, the design engines were using at the time. The engines made in cars today have design variants of Buick’s valve-in-head overhead valve engine design. In addition to that, the history and the early success of General Motors has a lot to thank Buick for.

Today, in spite of the economic woes which overtook General Motors and Chrysler in the 2008-2009 financial downturn, General Motors remains the number two automaker in the world. Chrysler today ranks as the third largest automobile maker, just ahead of BMW.

Republican Party is Born in Michigan

Not only does Michigan hold the distinction of being the innovator behind mass producing automobiles in the United States, but the state is also known as the birthplace of the Republican Party.

The Republican Party, founded in Jackson, Michigan in 1854, was formed by anti-slavery activists, ex-Whigs, ex-Free Soilers and modernizers. They were in opposition against the Democratic Party, the more dominant party at the time.

With the election of 1860, the Republican Senator, Abraham Lincoln of Illinois, won the presidency over Northern Democratic Senator Stephen Arnold Douglas also from Illinois. As a result of Lincoln winning the 1860 Presidential election, the Civil War was directly linked to him when Southern states all withdrew from the Union: the Southern states said that they would withdraw if Senator Lincoln won the presidency. Lincoln, on the other hand, told the Southern states that it would lead to war if they did so.

Abraham Lincoln as a Republican is typically credited with getting the United States of American through one of hardest social events in its young history.