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In presenting to the people of Iowa the debates in the convention, assembled at Iowa City, January 1857, for the purpose of revising her coustitution, after the same had been in operation for nearly eleven years, it may not be inappropriate to give a brief history of the facts, connected with the formation of her first constitution, and the circumstances which led to the calling of a convention to frame a new one.
On the 19th day of December, 1836, a resolution passed the House of Representatives, directing the committee on territories to enquire into the expediency of erecting a new territory of the southern portion of the then territory of Wisconsin. The committee, after investigation, reported a resolution to that effect, which passed the House of Representatives on the 14th of December, 1837.
During that session of Congress various petitions and memorials were presented to both Houses of Congress, from the people of Wisconsin territory, for the formation of a pew territorial goveroment, and the settlement of the boundary line between that territory and the State of Missouri. The proceedings of the territorial legislature, relative to that boundary line, were presented to the Senate on the 2d. of January, 1838. The committee on territories of the House of Representatives made a report, on the 6th of February, 1838, on the expediency of establishing a separate territorial government for Iowa. This report was accompanied by a bill, and on the 12th of June, 1838, the President approved an act to divide the territory of Wisconsin, and to establish the territorial government of Iowa.
On the 18th day of June, of the same year, an act was passed authorizing the President of the United States to cause the southern boundary line of the territory of Iowa to be ascertained, and properly marked. The Secretary of State reported to Congress the maps and surveys in compliance with the resolution of the two Houses of Cungress. And on the third of March, 1839, were passed and approved, an act to define and establish the eastern boundary line of the territory of Iowa, and an act to alter and amend the organic law of Wisconsin and Iowa. The difficulty in regard to the boundary line bet ween Missouri and Iowa continued, and during the session of Congress of 1839 and 1840, sundry communications were made to Congress from the territorial council of Iowa, and from individuals in relation to the subject. A bill was reported in the House of Representatives, on the 4th of February, 1810, to establish and define the northern boundary line of Missouri.
The President transmitted a message to Congress, on the 12th of February, 1840, with additional documents in relation to the disputed boundary line. And on the 5th of March, 1840, a bill was reported from the committee on territories of the House of Representatives to enable the people of Iowa to form a constitution and State govern. ment, and for the admission of such State into the Union.”
In the Senate, on the 11th of February, 1841, a bill was reported for ascertaining and settling the southern boundary of the territory of Iowa. The committee on territories of the House of Representatives made a report on the 26th of May, 1811, accompanied by a bill fixing the boundary line between Missouri and Iowa, which bill passed the House, but failed in the Senate.