Lesson Two: South Dakota Becomes a State

Focus Questions:

Why was it important for South Dakota to become a state?

Why did people want to divide Dakota Territory into two states?

Why did Congress not want to make states out of Dakota Territory?

Imbedded Information in the Student Lesson:

Benjamin Harrison; Arthur Mellette


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South Dakota Government Word Scramble

Classroom Activities:

     Hold a campaign rally in which the students argue that the classroom should receive statehood. Have the students decorate the room, provide treats and entertainment, give speeches, and vote on statehood. Some students may wish to be against statehood. They can give speeches and demonstrate against it.

     In 1890, Pierre had a population of 3,235, which made it about the same size as Aberdeen at that time. Even so, the outlying population of central South Dakota was small compared to Brown County or the Sioux Falls and Lead areas. Even so, Pierre argued that it was in the center of the state and that people from all corners of the state had equal distances to come for state business. Pierre won. Ask your students to create a list why the capital should be located in their community or area. What incentives might people offer to entice the capital to these areas?

     Have the students create campaign posters for or against statehood or for the location of the state capital. When they are complete, ask the students to show their posters to the class and explain why they think their poster would be effective.