No one is going to argue that North Dakota isn't a state, with the exception of those in South Dakota who wrongly claim that they have the best Dakota.

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Since President Benjamin Harrison gave his approval for its admittance into the Union in 1889, it has existed as a state. However, before 2012, there existed a minor technicality that might be used to argue that North Dakota wasn't a state.

The technicality pertained to a minor omission present in the state constitution of North Dakota.

For a more in depth video on the topic, check out Half As Interesting on Youtube.


State constitutions must stipulate under Article VI of the U.S. Constitution that all branches of state government must swear allegiance to the United States. However, North Dakota historian from Grand Forks, John Rolczynski discovered in 1995 that North Dakota fell short of this expectation.

The requirement for the governor and other executive authorities to take an oath was not stipulated in the North Dakota Constitution. If North Dakota had broken federal law, it might not have been a legitimate state.

State Senator Tim Mathern brought forth an amendment to address the issue, and it passed the legislature of North Dakota. The amendment was then put to a vote by the people of North Dakota and received a staggering 88.74% approval.

Constitutional law experts addressed the case of North Dakota and concluded that the legality of the land’s statehood was never really in question.

While the state constitution may have violated Article VI of the U.S. Constitution, Congress has the power to determine statehood, and Congress has already admitted North Dakota. Plus, the Federal Enabling Act of 1889 also decided the statehood of North Dakota.

The federal government had already made it clear that it recognized North Dakota as a state, and no small technicality detracted from that.

However, it was at least a humorous anecdote in the state's history, and it is now closed off to anyone who might have wished to utilize that loophole as a means to succeed North Dakota from the nation.  John Rolczynski deserves to go down in the annals of history for removing a shadow of doubt surrounding North Dakota's statehood.

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