The Indiana Territory at its greatest extent included modern-day Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin, Michigan and part of Minnesota. It formerly was part of the Northwest Territory. As Ohio began the process of becoming a state in 1800, the Congress separated the area into two distinct territories. William Henry Harrison served as the first governor of the Indiana Territory and was in office until 1812.
As governor, Harrison ruled strictly. Many white settlers in the area were opposed to slavery and it had been prohibited by the Northwest Ordinance of 1787. Harrison was from a prominent slaveholding family and did not vigorously enforce the law against slavery in the Indiana Territory. He did permit the formation of a territorial legislature in 1805, but he ignored most of its requests. His authority remained virtually unchallenged until 1809, when the United States government separated modern-day Indiana from the other land originally included in the Indiana Territory. Many of the residents still under his leadership disliked the governor. In 1810, the legislature outlawed slavery and ended land ownership as a requirement for adult white men to be able to vote. Harrison's strict rule is surprising. When he resided in what would become Ohio, he strongly opposed the strict rule of Northwest Territorial Governor Arthur St. Clair. Harrison's actions suggest that he was less upset with St. Clair's political views and more angered by his own lack of power.
Indiana became the nineteenth state of the United States of America on December 11, 1816.
[[Category:Exploration To Statehood]]