The state of Missouri was admitted to the Union on Aug.10, 1821. Missouri is called the "Show Me State," a motto dating back to the 1890s and a speech where Congressman Willard Vandiver declared: "I come from a country that raises corn and cotton, cockleburs and Democrats, and frothy eloquence neither convinces nor satisfies me. I'm from Missouri, and you have got to show me."
For the past several decades, the mean center of the population of the United States has been in Missouri.
Missouri is the center of America in other ways, too: St. Louis, Missouri, is considered the farthest west of America's Eastern cities, and Kansas City, Missouri, is thought of as the farthest east of America's Cities of the West. In the past, Missouri was a Southern state; now it's generally thought of as a Midwestern state.
It's what's called a "bellwether state" in politics. Missouri has voted for every winning U.S. presidential candidate since 1904, with just two exceptions: the 1956 election and the 2008 election.
Missouri was settled by German brewers and has always had among the most lenient drinking laws in the nation. When Prohibition fever swept the rest of the nation, Missouri never enacted statewide prohibition. State law specifically bans arrests for public intoxication. Open containers of alcohol are permitted in moving vehicles (passengers can drink).
Missourians count among their ranks: Mark Twain, Langston Hughes, T.S. Eliot, Sara Teasdale, Tennessee Williams, William S. Burroughs, William Least Heat Moon, Joseph Pulitzer, J. William Fulbright, Walt Disney, Walter Cronkite, Laura Ingalls Wilder, and Jesse James.