Jason M. Gant

Secretary of State

 

About South Dakota

South Dakota Elected Officials

Know your Elected Officials

General Information

Population (2000 Census): 754,844

Square Miles: 77,047

State Capitol: Pierre

Signs and Symbols of South Dakota

Historical Background

The State of South Dakota was acquired by the United States through the Louisiana Purchase in 1803.  Nine states were eventually organized out of the Louisiana Territory.  In 1861, President James Buchanan signed the Organic Act creating the Dakota Territory.  Twenty-eight years later, in 1889, the Omnibus Bill or Enabling Act was adopted by Congress which provided for dividing the Dakota Territory into the states of North and South Dakota and enabled the two Dakotas, Montana and Washington to formulate constitutions.

The South Dakota Constitution was adopted in 1889.  The first constitutional convention seeking South Dakota statehood was held in 1883.  This was the first time the people of Dakota Territory petitioned congress for admission to the Union.  A second convention was held two years later.  In 1889, the third convention drafted the final constitutional provisions, and on November 2 of that year President Benjamin Harrison signed the document that made South Dakota the thirty-ninth or fortieth state.  North Dakota was admitted to the Union on the same day and the President intentionally shuffled the two proclamations so it is not known which was signed first.

The South Dakota Constitution provides that the governmental powers of the state are "divided into three distinct departments, the legislative, executive, and judicial; and the powers and duties of each are prescribed by this Constitution."