Washington is admitted as the 42nd state to the United States of America on November 11, 1889.

  • By Greg Lange
  • Posted 2/15/2003
  • HistoryLink.org Essay 5210

On November 11, 1889, Washington becomes the 42nd state of the United States of America.

On February 22, 1889, the United States Congress passed an act enabling the territories of Washington, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Montana to seek statehood. This was the first enabling act passed by Congress since Colorado became the 38th state in 1876.

One of the conditions established for statehood was approval of a state constitution. The 75 men  elected to the State Constitutional Convention included 21 lawyers, 13 farmers, 6 merchants, 6 doctors, 5 bankers, 4 cattlemen, 3 teachers, 2 real-estate agents, 2 editors, 2 hop farmers, 2 loggers, 2 lumbermen, 1 minister, 1 surveyor, 1 fisherman, and 1 mining engineer. Between July 4 and August 24, 1889, delegates to the Constitutional Convention in Olympia drafted the state constitution. On October 1, 1889, Washington citizens approved the State Constitution by a vote of 40,152 to 11,879.

On November 11, 1889, U.S. President Benjamin Harrison (1833-1901) signed the bill admitting Washington to the United States.


Dorothy O. Johansen and Charles M. Gates, Empire of the Columbia: A History of the Pacific Northwest (New York: Harper & Brothers, Publishers, 1957), 407; Mary W. Avery, Government of Washington State (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1966), 21, 27; Clinton A. Snowden, History of Washington: The Rise and Progress of an American State, Vol. 4 (New York: The Century History Company, 1909), 386-387.

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