Happy 200th Birthday to The Country of Louisiana 1812-2012
©2012 Mike Church
Yesterday, 30 April 2012 marked the 200th4 anniversary of Louisiana’s membership in the Union of these United States of America. The front page of today’s Times Picayune blares out the misinformed headline “200 years after joining the nation, Louisiana…” blah blah blah. The headline is misinformed because Louisiana IS a nation in the same sense that France is a nation. At the time of our admission to the “Union of States” the term “state” was synonymous with the term “country” or “nation” even though we were technically the “Territory of Orleans” the Louisiana purchase recognized the sovereignty of the “inhabitants” of that territory7.
Before entering the Union, Louisianans had to draft a Constitution and in that Constitution of January 22, 18121, “We the Representatives” declared that “In order to secure to all…citizens… the enjoyment of the right of Life, Liberty and property, do ordain and establish [this] constitution … and do mutually agree … to form ourselves into a free and independent State, by the name of the State of Louisiana.”
Some very familiar names to WhoDats appear as signers of that first Constitution; Poydras, Marigny and Destrahan. The world has been blessed by the people and culture of this great nation ever since.
If there be doubters as to the claim that Louisiana was and is a nation and not a member of one, consider Thomas Jefferson’s communication with another part of the LA Purchase, Missouri. Jefferson famously told Missouri that whether Congress accepted their application to become a member State of the federal union, they remained a free and independent state.
In defining the borders of LA the Constitution states that the islands and waters “within 3 leagues of the coast”2 belong to the state, that’s 10.5 miles to me and you. More than enough sovereign waterways for a future governor to grow a set and move immediately to protect those “leagues” from incoming spilled oil.
So Happy 200th Birthday Louisiana may you always be, free, independent and what Governor Jimmy Davis sang of you: My only Sunshine.