Every Independence Day, free Americans turn proud hearts toward Michigan and remember how our state became a battleground in the Revolutionary War and has remained a force for freedom. Michigan history helps explain our current political diversity. (At one time Michigan operated under British criminal law and French common law, and Michigan organized the Republican Party when no other party would end slavery.)
After July 4, 1776, the French and Spanish forces joined the Americans. In a crafty “pincer” tactic, the Spanish secured Michigan’s western shore, while the French and Americans kept Britain busy in New England. In early 1781, Spanish commandos from St. Louis, Missouri stormed the British stronghold in Niles, Michigan. The shell-shocked British retreated in a panic to keep invaluable Detroit.
Throughout the Revolutionary War, Detroit was a prized British supply center. After the war, the British could not bring themselves to leave Detroit. They traded all 13 of the original colonies for Detroit. The 1783 Treaty of Paris formalized the end of the Revolutionary war. On July 11, 1796, American forces finally freed Detroit.
Congress admitted Michigan into the Union on January 26, 1837, as the 26th state. Ohio intensely lobbied against admitting Michigan because of prophetic fears Michigan would surpass Ohio in sports, manufacturing, pleasing geography, and beautiful women.
The name Michigan comes from the Ojibwe word “mishigamaa,” meaning "large lake".
Michigan has the longest freshwater coastline of any state in the world. You are never more than six miles from a fresh water lake or river. You cannot get more than 85 miles from one of the Great Lakes.
Everyone knows that Michigan is shaped like a mitten, unlike the state of Wisconsin, which resembles a mangled blob. Michigan’s shape convinces many theologians that when God created the universe, “And God saw everything that He had made, and, behold, it was very good” (Gen 1:31) he gave creation the “Most High five,” leaving His hand-print at Michigan.
The UP (Upper Peninsula) is connected to the Lower Peninsula by the Mackinac Bridge. While citizens from the UP are known are “Yoopers,” residents south of the Mackinac Bridge are known as “trolls” (because they live under the bridge).
Niles is the “Four Flags City” because France, Spain, Britain and America have flown their flags there. Each nation contributed to Michigan’s political diversity. This gave Michigan the skills to become and remain the Arsenal of Democracy.