The “Show-Me” State Story

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While Missouri is indeed known as the 24th state to have entered the union (hence “24th State Solutions”, yes yes quite clever, we know), it’s also known by another name (and NO we’re not talking about “Mizzurah”, our apologies to Governor Nixon), The “Show-Me” State.

Honestly, we think it’s a silly nickname. One that’s as unrepresentative of the state as it is nonsensical, but nevertheless, it’s ours.

So what’s with the name?

To answer that question we’ll have to travel all the way back to 1899 Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. It was there that that a sophomore Missouri Congressman, Willard D. Vandiver, was attending a U.S. Naval banquet. Upon being invited to offer a few remarks, as Congresspersons often are, Congressman Vandiver included the following remark that would forever be etched into Missouri lore (if that’s a thing).

“I come from a state that raises corn and cotton, cockleburs and Democrats, and frothy eloquence neither convinces nor satisfies me. I’m from Missouri, and you have got to show me.”

-Rep. Willard D. Vandiver (D-MO)

That’s It.

That’s the quote from an otherwise obscure  speech, by an otherwise obscure Missouri Congressman in 1899. Well, actually not that obscure, since we’re talking about it here some 116 years later, but you catch our drift.

Though upon reflection, one would certainly concur that the only thing that’s changed since 1899 is the amount of Democrats being raised here….but that’s a story for another day.

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Congressman Willard D. Vandiver

Born: 1854, Moorefield, Virginia

Died: 1932, Columbia, Missouri

Alma Mater: Central Methodist University, 1877 (Fayette, Missouri)

Affiliation: Democrat

Public Service Record:

  • U. S. Representative (1897-1905)
  • Assistant Treasurer of the United States (1913-1921)

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