1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Michigan

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MICHIGAN, a north central state of the United States, situated between latitudes 41° 44′ and 47° 30′ N.[1] and longitudes 82° 25′ and 90° 31′ W., and consisting of two peninsulas—the upper or northern and the lower or southern—separated by a strait. The upper or northern peninsula is bounded N. by Lake Superior; E. by lakes Superior, George, Huron, and Michigan, and by St Mary’s River, which separates it from the Province of Ontario, Canada; S. by lakes Huron and Michigan and the Straits of Mackinac, which separate it from the lower peninsula; and S. and W. by Wisconsin, and the Menominee, Montreal and Brulè Rivers, which separate it in part from Wisconsin. The lower or southern peninsula is bounded N. by lakes Michigan and Huron and the Straits of Mackinac, E. by lakes Huron, St Clair and Erie, and the St Clair and Detroit Rivers, which separate it from Ontario; S. by Ohio and Indiana, and W. by Lake Michigan. In size Michigan ranks eighteenth among the states of the Union, its total area being 57,980 sq. m., of which 500 sq. m. are water surface.[2]

Physical Features.—Physiographically the history of the state is similar to that of Minnesota. The northern part is rugged mountainous “old land,” not completely worn down by erosion; and the southern part is a portion of the old coastal plain, whose layers contain salt, gypsum and some inferior coal. Lake Huron on the east and Lake Michigan on the west of the lower peninsula are each 5811/3 ft. above sea-level, and Lake Superior on the north of the upper peninsula is 602 ft. above sea-level. For the most part the surface of the state is gently undulating and at a slight elevation above the lakes, but low marsh lands are common to many sections; the north part of the lower peninsula is occupied by a plateau of considerable dimensions, and the north-west part of the upper peninsula is rugged with hills and mountains. Crossing the lower peninsula from Saginaw Bay west by south through the valleys of the Saginaw, Maple and Grand rivers, is a depression—the former channel of an old glacial river—in which elevations for a considerable area are less than 100 ft. above the lakes. To the south-east of this depression a water-parting with summits varying from about 400 to 600 ft. above the lakes extends from a point between Saginaw Bay and Lake Huron south by west to the south border of the state and beyond. The east slope descends quite rapidly to a low flat belt from 5 to 40 m. wide along the east border of the state south from Lake Huron. From Lake Huron to the south-east shore of Saginaw Bay a wide sandy beach is followed northward by precipitous shores abounding in rocks and bluffs. West of the divide and south of the depression, south-west Michigan is occupied by the valleys of the St Joseph, Kalamazoo and Grand rivers, by the gently rolling uplands that form the parting divides between them, and by sand dunes, which here and there rise to a height of from 100 to 200 ft. or more along the shore of Lake Michigan, and are formed on this side (but not on the Wisconsin side) of the lake by the prevailing west winds. The north and north-west portions of the lower peninsula—including the counties of Roscommon and Missaukee, parts of Wexford and Ogemaw, and those to the north and north-west of these—are occupied by a rolling plateau which attains an elevation at its highest point, north of its centre, of upwards of 1100 ft. above Lake Michigan; to the south of this plateau the land slopes gently down to the depression and to the low shores of Lake Michigan and Saginaw Bay. The surface of the upper peninsula is more irregular than that of the lower peninsula. A portion extending through the middle from east to west and south, from west of the centre to Green Bay, is either flat and even swampy or only gently undulating. Eastward from Green Bay are two ranges of hills: the one lining the south shore and ranging from 100 to 300 ft. in height, the other close to or touching the north shore and reaching in places an elevation of 600 ft. above Lake Superior. The famous Pictured Rocks in Alger county on the lake shore, east of Munising, form the west portion of this north range; they are of sandstone formation, extend for several miles along the coast, rise almost perpendicularly from the water’s edge, and display an interesting diversity of shapes as well as a great variety of tints and hues, especially of gray, blue, green and yellow. The most rugged portion of the state is farther west. South and south-east of Keweenaw Bay, in the Marquette iron district, is an irregular area of mountains, hills, swamps and lakes, some of the mountain peaks of the Huron Mountains (in Marquette county) rising to an elevation of 1400 ft. or more above the lake. These and a peak in the Porcupine Mountains (2023 ft. above the sea) in the north-west part of Ontonagon county are the highest in the state. To the south of this is the Menominee iron district, marked somewhat regularly by east and west ridges. Extending in a general north-east and south-west direction through Keweenaw peninsula to the Wisconsin border and beyond is the middle of three approximately parallel ranges, separated from each other by flat lands, with here and there an isolated peak (in the Porcupine Mountains) having an elevation of from 900 to 1400 ft. above the lake. The north portion of these ranges, together with Isle Royale some distance farther north, which is itself traversed by several less elevated parallel ridges, contains the Michigan copper-bearing rocks; while to the south, along the Wisconsin border, is another iron district, the Gogebic. The rivers of the entire state consist of numerous small streams of clear water. In the interior of the upper peninsula, along the east border of the lower peninsula south from Lake Huron, and in Saginaw valley, they are rather sluggish; but many of the larger streams of the lower peninsula have sufficient fall to furnish a large amount of water-power, while the small streams that flow into Lake Superior from the central portion of the upper peninsula as well as some of the larger ones farther west, have several falls and rapids; in places also they are lined with steep, high banks. Most of the larger rivers of the state—the Muskegon, Grand, St Joseph, Manistee and Kalamazoo—are in the west portion of the lower peninsula. Several thousand lakes of clear water, formed by glacial action, dot the surface of the state, and many of them are lined with picturesque woodland shores. Islands in lakes Superior, Michigan and Huron are scarcely less numerous.

Fauna and Flora.—Michigan, especially the north portion, still abounds in game. The mammals include black bear, deer, lynx, porcupine, fox, squirrels, hares, rabbits, musk rats, minks, weasels, skunks and woodchucks. Among the game birds are quails (“Bob White”), “partridges” (ruffed grouse), ducks, geese, woodcocks, snipes and plovers. Of song birds the favourites are the robin, thrushes, bobolink, oriole, chickadee, meadow-lark, cat-bird, bluebird, wrens and warblers. Among fishes, white fish, lake trout, perch, herring, sun-fish, bass, sturgeon, pickerel, suckers, German carp and fresh-water drum abound in the lakes. The speckled trout thrives in many of the streams.

Before it was settled by the whites the area now included in Michigan was a forest, except in the south-west, where there were a few small prairies, possibly cleared by the Indians. The remainder of the south part of this area for about 60 m. along the southern boundary was a part of the great hardwood forest of the Ohio Basin with woods varying with soil and drainage: on the drier gravel lands were oak forests consisting of red, black and white oak, hickory, ash, cherry, basswood and walnut; in depressions there were maple, elm, ash, beech, sycamore, poplar and willow; and in the south-east there were a few chestnuts and tulip trees. North of this southern hardwood forest there were pine forests on the sandier land, mixed hardwoods and conifers on the loam and clay, and tamaracks and cedar in the swamps. The sandy lands were in part burnt over by Indians, and there was a growth of scrub oak, aspens and huckleberry bushes. The tamarack and cedar swamps now have a growth, especially on their edges, of spruce, balsam, white pine, soft maple, ash and aspens. In 1909 about 25% of the area was “cut over” or “burned over” lands, mostly the old pine woods, the region of the old hardwood forest was almost entirely farmland, and about 40% of the state was still in woods. Red oak, birch, elm, ash, white cedar, hemlock, basswood, spruce, poplar, balsam, fir and several other kinds of trees are found in many sections; but a large portion of the merchantable timber, especially in the lower peninsula, has been cut.[3] Among forest shrubs are the willow, hazel, alder, shrub maple, birch, hawthorn, dogwood, elderberry, viburnum and snowberry. Yews are common in the north, and dwarf juniper in the south. In 1900 the woodland area, including stump lands, was estimated at 38,000 sq. m., or nearly two-thirds of the entire state. Huckleberry, blackberry and raspberry bushes are common in the north sections. Smilax, clematis, honeysuckle and woodbine are the commoner forest vines.

Soil.—The soil of south-west and south-east Michigan is for the most part a dark clay loam or muck; in the north central part of the lower peninsula it is a light sandy loam, along the Huron shore it is heavy with blue clay, in the mining districts of the north-west the rocks are usually either barren or very thinly covered; and elsewhere in the state the soil is generally rich in a variety of mineral elements, and varies chiefly in the proportions of vegetable loam, sand or gravel, and clay.

Climate.—Although the temperature of the entire lower peninsula is considerably influenced by the lakes, yet, the prevailing winds being westerly, it is in the west portion of that peninsula that the moderation is greatest, both the summer and winter isotherms being there deflected more than half the length of the peninsula. On the other hand, the prevailing winds of the upper peninsula being north-westerly, the lakes have little effect on the temperature there; and so, while in the south-west the extremes are not great, in the rest of the state they have ranged within two years from 104° F. at points in the south-east to 49° F. in the north-west. Throughout the state July is invariably the warmest month, February the coldest, the mean annual temperature is about 45° F. The mean annual precipitation is not far from 31 in., a little more than one-half of which falls during the five growing months from May to October; the rain is evenly distributed over all parts of the state, but the snow is exceptionally heavy along the north shore of the upper peninsula.

Productions.—Of the total land surface of the state in 1900 48·08% (in 1904, 47·1%) was included in farms and 67·2% (in 1904, 66·9%) of the farm land was improved; the total number of farms was 203,261 (in 1904, 189,167), of which 143,688 contained less than 100 acres, 54,556 others contained less than 260 acres, and 136 contained 1000 acres or more, the average size being 86·4 acres (in 1904, 91·5 acres). Of the total number of farms 168,814 were operated by the owners (in 1904, 161,037 by owners and 914 by managers), 22,482 (in 1904, 19,525) by share tenants, 9731 (in 1904, 7685) by cash tenants; and 312,462 of the inhabitants of the state, or 34·5% of all who were engaged in gainful occupations, were farmers. Of the total acreage in 1900 of all crops 58·3% was in cereals and 28·8% in hay and forage; of the acreage of cereals 40·8% was in wheat, 31·8% in Indian corn, 21·6% in oats and 3·7% in rye. In 1907 the buckwheat crop was 852,000 bushels; rye, 5,452,000 bushels; the hay crop, 3,246,000 tons; oats, 30,534,000 bushels; barley, 1,496,000 bushels; wheat 12,731,000 bushels; and Indian corn 57,190,000 bushels. Of livestock, sheep are the most numerous (2,130,000 in 1907), and Michigan’s wool clip in 1907 was 14,080,500 ℔. The number of neat cattle in 1907 was 1,852,000 (849,000 dairy cows). The number of hogs was 1,388,000; and of horses 704,000.

Michigan produces the bulk of the peppermint crop of the United States, and it is in the front rank as a fruit-producing state.

Barley and buckwheat are grown chiefly in the east part of the lower peninsula south of Saginaw Bay. Potatoes are grown in considerable quantities in the north-west part of the lower peninsula in the vicinity of Grand Traverse Bay as well as throughout the southern portion of the state; the largest crops of beans are grown in the south central part of the lower peninsula, and of peas in the counties bordering on Lake Huron. Kalamazoo, Jackson, Washtenaw, Lenawee, Ingham, Bay and Muskegon are the leading celery-producing counties; the peppermint district is in the south-west corner of the state; and market gardening is an important industry both in the south-west and in the south-east counties. All the principal fruits are grown in largest quantities in what is commonly known as the fruit belt in the south-west, particularly in Berrien, the corner county.

The fresh-water fish caught in the Great Lakes by residents in Michigan exceed in value those caught by residents of other states, and in 1907 the catch was valued at $1,806,767. Nearly one-half both in quantity and value are taken from Lake Michigan, and, although as many as twenty kinds are caught in considerable quantities, more than 90% of the value of the catch consists of trout, herring, white fish and perch. Both the state government and the national government have established hatcheries within the state, and state laws protect the industry by regulating the size of mesh in the nets used, prescribing the size of fish that may be taken and kept, establishing close seasons for several kinds of fish, and by other limitations.

Minerals.—Of the mineral products (for which the state is noted) iron is the most valuable. This mineral was discovered in the Marquette district along the shore of Lake Superior early in the 18th century, but active operations for mining it did not begin until 1845; in 1877 mining of the same mineral began farther south in the Menominee district, and seven years later farther west along the Wisconsin border in Gogebic county. The annual product steadily increased from 3000 long tons in 1854 to 11,830,342 in 1907; from 1890 to 1901 Michigan ranked first in the union as an iron-producing state, but after 1901 its product was exceeded by that of Minnesota. Up to 1909 it was estimated that 380,417,085 tons of ore were shipped from the Lake Superior region. Next in value among the mineral products is copper; there are about twenty copper mines in Keweenaw peninsula and its vicinity. The Calumet and Hecla mine, in the central part of that peninsula, is probably the most profitable copper mine in the world; up to 1909 it had paid about $107,850,000 in dividends. Copper mining in the state began about the same time as iron mining, and the quantity mined increased from 12 long tons in 1845 to 102,543 in 1906 (in 1907, 97,175 long tons). From 1847 to 1887 the product of Michigan exceeded that of any other state; from 1847 to 1883 its copper product was more than one-half that of all the states, but after 1887 (except in 1891) more of that mineral was mined in Montana than in Michigan, and in 1906 and in 1907 the yield in both Arizona and Montana was greater than in Michigan. Fields of bituminous coal extend over an area of over 10,000 sq. m. in the central portion of the lower peninsula; but its quality is inferior. The mining of coal began in Jackson county in 1835 and there was a slow increase in the output until 1882 (135,339 short tons); then there was a tendency to decrease until 1897, from which time the product increased from 223,592 short tons to 2,035,858 short tons in 1907. The principal mines are in Saginaw, Bay, Eaton, Jackson, Huron and Shiawassee counties. Salt wells are numerous in the middle and south-east sections of the lower peninsula; the first successful one was drilled in Saginaw county in 1859 and 1860. For a number of years prior to 1893 Michigan was the leading salt-producing state, and, though her output was subsequently (except in 1901) exceeded by that of New York, it continued to increase up to 1905, when it was 9,492,173 barrels; in 1907, the product was 10,786,630 barrels. Gypsum is obtained from deposits along the banks of the Grand river in Kent county and in the vicinity of Alabaster along the shore of Lake Huron in Iosco county. Operations on the deposit near Grand Rapids were begun in 1841, and although that near Alabaster was opened in 1862, it was not until 1902 that it became of much importance; in that year the output of the state was 208,563 short tons; in 1907 317,261 short tons were mined. Marl is found in the south part of the state; limestone most largely in the north part of the lower peninsula, and the east part of the upper peninsula; and the production of Portland cement increased rapidly from 77,000 barrels in 1898 to 3,572,668 in 1907. Besides limestones and dolomites, the only building stone of much commercial importance is the Potsdam sandstone, extensive beds of which lie in the north part of the upper peninsula. Grindstones are produced in considerable quantity in Huron county. A small quantity of petroleum is obtained from thirteen wells in St Clair county in the east part of the lower peninsula; and the mineral waters at Mount Clemens, Benton Harbor and Alma are of considerable commercial value for medicinal purposes.

Manufactures.—In 1900 the value of the manufactured products of Michigan amounted to $356,944,082, which was an increase of 28·4% over that of 1890, and by 1904 there was a further increase of 20·19%.[4] During the same period, however, the value of the products of the lumber and timber industry, which in 1870, 1880 and 1890 was greater than that of any other state, and in 1900 was still more than twice as great as that of the products of any other manufacturing industry in the state and was exceeded only by that of the product of Wisconsin, decreased from $83,121,969 in 1890 to $53,915,647 (35·1%) in 1900, and to $40,569,335 in 1904, this decrease being due to the fact that the large quantities of raw material (both hard wood and pine) formerly found in the forests of Michigan had become so far exhausted that much of it had to be brought in from other states and from Canada. The value of the products of the furniture factories and of the planing mills, nevertheless, has steadily increased; that of the furniture factories (of which Grand Rapids is the leading centre not only in Michigan but in the United States) rising from $10,767,038 in 1890 to $14,614,506 in 1900 and $18,421,735 in 1904, and that of the planing mills from $10,007,603 in 1890 to $12,469,532 in 1900 and $14,375,467 in 1904. The total value of the lumber and timber products, the furniture products, and the planing-mill products amounted in 1900 to $80,999,685; the value of those manufactures based upon minerals mined or quarried amounted in the same year to $83,730,930.

Another important class of manufactures is that based on agriculture: the value of flour and grist mill products amounted to $21,643,547 in 1900, and $26,512,027 in 1904; that of food preparations, for which Battle Creek is noted, to $1,891,516 in 1900 and $6,753,699 in 1904; that of agricultural implements to $6,339,508 in 1900 and $8,719,719 in 1904; and of malt liquors to $5,296,825 in 1900 and $6,999,251 in 1904.

Among other manufactures in which the state ranks high and in which there was a large increase in value during the same period are: leather, carriages and waggons, chemicals, paper and wood pulp and beet sugar. In 1904 Michigan manufactured automobiles valued at $6,876,708.

The ten leading manufacturing centres are, in the order of the value of their products in 1904: Detroit, Grand Rapids, Kalamazoo, Battle Creek, Saginaw, Jackson, Lansing, Muskegon, Bay City and Port Huron, all in the south half of the lower peninsula.

Communications.—The building of railways in Michigan began in 1830, but little progress had been made in 1837 when the state began the construction of three railways and two canals across the south half of the lower peninsula. The Michigan Central was completed from Detroit to Ypsilanti in January 1838, a portion of the Michigan Southern was in operation in November 1840, and considerable work was done on the proposed Michigan Northern and the two canals. By 1846, however, the state had proved itself incompetent to carry on the work and sold its interests to private companies. In 1850 there were 342 m. completed, and from then until 1880 the mileage increased to 3938; but the great period of railway building in Michigan was in the decade from 1880 to 1890, when the mileage was increased to 7108·48. By the close of 1908 it had further increased to 8629·35. The principal lines are the Michigan Central, the Père Marquette, the Lake Shore & Michigan Southern, the Grand Rapids & Indiana, the Ann Arbor, the Grand Trunk, the Chicago & North-Western, the Duluth South Shore & Atlantic, the Minneapolis, St Paul & Sault Ste. Marie, and the Chicago, Milwaukee & St Paul. A board of railway commissioners, which in 1907 succeeded a commissioner (whose office was created in 1873) hears complaints, has power to issue various orders and permits of minor importance to railway companies, and reports annually to the governor.[5] The legislature is empowered to appoint a commission to fix transportation rates for railways and express companies. Besides railway communication Michigan has a coast line of about 1600 m., along which vessels of 2000 tons can sail and find several good harbours, the water communication having been extended and improved by several canals, among which are the Sault Ste. Marie, which passes the rapids of St Mary’s River; the St Clair Flats, at the north end of Lake St Clair, by which a deeper channel is made through shallow water; and the Portage Lake, in the copper district, which connects that lake with Lake Superior. The state undertook to construct that at Sault Ste. Marie in 1837 but little had been accomplished in 1852 when the national government granted 750,000 acres of land to the state in aid of the enterprise, and three years after that the canal was completed. Since its completion, the national government has enlarged its locks so as to make it navigable for vessels drawing 21 ft. of water. The national government constructed the canal at the St Clair Flats in 1871 and contributed land for aid in the construction of that connecting lakes Portage and Superior, which was completed in 1873 and passed under national control in 1891.

Population.—The population of Michigan in 1880 was 1,636,937; in 1890 it was 2,093,889, an increase of 27·9% within the decade; in 1900 it was 2,420,982, a further increase of 15·6% and in 1910, according to the preliminary returns of the U.S. census, it was 2,810,173. Of the total population in 1900, 2,398,563 or 99·07% were whites, 15,861 were negroes, 6354 were Indians, 240 were Chinese, and 9 were Japanese. 1,879,329 or 77·6% were native born and 541,653 were foreign-born, 184,398 of the foreign-born being natives of Canada (151,915 English; 32,483 French), 125,074 of Germany, 43,839 of England, and 30,406 of Holland. In 1906 982,479 communicants of different denominations were reported: of these 492,135 were Roman Catholics, 128,675 Methodists, 105,803 Lutherans, 50,136 Baptists, 37,900 Presbyterians, 28,345 members of Reformed bodies, and 26,349 members of the Protestant Episcopal Church. In 1900 39·3% of the total population lived in places having at least 2500 inhabitants.

Administration.—The constitution under which Michigan is now governed was first adopted in 1850, when it was felt that the powers which the first one, that of 1835, conferred upon the executive and the legislature were too unrestricted. In 1908 it was revised, and many changes were made.

The constitution admits of amendment by an affirmative vote of two-thirds of the members of each house of the legislature, followed at the next succeeding spring or autumn election by an affirmative vote of a majority of the electors voting upon the question; or an amendment may be proposed by an initiative petition signed by more than 20% of the total number of electors who voted for secretary of state at the preceding election, and such an amendment (unless disapproved by a majority vote in a joint meeting of the two houses of the legislature) is submitted to popular vote at the next election and comes into effect only if it receives a favourable majority of the popular vote. Amendments suggested by the legislature have been frequently adopted, and one, adopted in 1862, provided that the question of a general revision of the constitution shall be submitted to a popular vote once every sixteen years and at such other times as may be provided by law. When this question was so submitted for the first time, in 1866, the vote was to revise; but the revision prepared by a convention called for the purpose was rejected at the polls. The revision by the Constitutional Convention of 1907–1908 was adopted by popular vote in 1908.

In its present form the constitution confers suffrage upon every male citizen of the United States who is twenty-one years of age or over and has resided in the state six months and in his township or ward twenty days immediately preceding an election; and any woman may vote in an election involving the direct expenditure of public money or the issue of bonds if she have the qualifications of male electors and if she have property assessed for taxes in any part of the district or territory affected by the election in question. At the head of the executive department is the governor, who is elected for two years, and who at the time of his election must be at least thirty years of age and must have been for five years a citizen of the United States, and for the two years immediately preceding a resident of the state. A lieutenant-governor, for whom the same qualifications are prescribed, is elected at the same time for the same term. Under the first constitution the secretary of state, treasurer, auditor-general, attorney-general, commissioner of the land office, superintendent of public instruction and the judges were all appointed by the governor, but under the present one they are elected and only minor officers are appointed. In 1893 the legislature created a board of four members to be appointed by the governor, one of whom must be a physician, another an attorney, and made it its duty to investigate the case of every convict for whom a petition for pardon is received and then report and recommend to the governor what it deem expedient. The governor’s salary is fixed by the revised constitution of 1908 at $5000 a year. The lieutenant-governor succeeds the governor in case of vacancy, and next in order of succession comes the secretary of state.

The legislature, consisting of a Senate of 32 members, and a House of Representatives of 100 members (according to the constitution not less than 64 and not more than 100), meets biennially, in odd-numbered years, at Lansing. Both senators and representatives are elected for a term of two years by single districts, except that a township or city which is entitled by its population to more than one representative elects its representatives on a general ticket. Beginning in 1913 and at each subsequent tenth year, the legislature, under the revised constitution of 1908, rearranges the senatorial districts and reapportions the representatives among the counties and districts, using as a basis the returns of the next preceding decennial census; the taking of a state census between the decennial periods is discontinued.

No bill can pass either house except by an affirmative vote of a majority of the members elected to that house, and on its third reading the ayes and noes must be taken and recorded; for appropriation bills a two-thirds majority of all members elected to each house is required. All legislation must be by bill, legislation by joint and concurrent resolutions thus being prevented. No bill may be passed at a regular session until it has been printed and in possession of each house for five days; no bill may be passed at a special session on any subject not expressly stated in the governor’s proclamation or submitted by special message. The governor has ten days (Sundays not being counted) in which to exercise his veto power (which may be applied to any item or items of any bill making appropriations of money and embracing distinct items), and an affirmative vote in each house of two-thirds of the members elected is required to pass a bill over his veto. Under the revised constitution of 1908 any bill passed by the legislature and approved by the governor, except appropriation bills, may be referred by the legislature to the qualified electors; and no bill so referred shall become law unless approved by a majority of the electors voting thereon; no local or special act, passed by the legislature, takes effect until it is approved by a majority vote of the electors in the affected district.

The administration of justice is entrusted to a supreme court, a continually increasing number of circuit courts (thirty-eight in 1909), one probate court in each county, and not exceeding four justices of the peace in each township. The supreme court is composed of one chief justice and seven associate justices, all elected for a term of ten years, not more than two retiring every two years; it holds four sessions annually, exercises a general control over the inferior courts, may issue, hear and determine any of the more important writs, and has appellate jurisdiction only in all other important cases. There is only one circuit court judge for a circuit, unless the legislature provides for the election of more; the term of office is six years. Circuit court judges have original jurisdiction in most matters civil and criminal, hear appeals from the lower courts, and must hold at least four sessions annually in each county of the circuit. Each county elects a judge of probate for a term of four years; he has original concurrent jurisdiction with the circuit court in matters of probate, and has original jurisdiction in all cases of juvenile delinquents and dependents. The legislature may provide for the election of more than one judge of probate in a county with more than 100,000 inhabitants. Justices of the peace are elected by the townships for a term of four years—there are not more than four in each township; in civil matters they have exclusive jurisdiction of cases in which the demand does not exceed $100 and concurrent jurisdiction with the circuit courts in contract cases in which the demand does not exceed $300.

For purposes of local government the state is divided into eighty-three counties, each of which is in turn divided regularly by N. and S. and E. and W. lines into several townships. In the more sparsely inhabited counties of the upper peninsula and in the N.E. section of the lower peninsula the townships are much larger than in other parts of the state. The officers of the township are a supervisor, clerk, treasurer, highway-commissioner, one overseer of highways for each highway district, a justice of the peace, and not more than four constables, all of whom are elected at the annual township meeting in April. The supervisor, two of the justices of the peace and the clerk constitute the township board, whose duty it is to settle claims against the township, audit accounts, and publish annually an itemized statement of receipts and disbursements. The supervisor is also the township assessor, and the several township supervisors constitute the county board of supervisors who equalize property valuations as between townships, authorize townships to borrow money with which to build or repair bridges, are entrusted with the care and management of the property and business of the county, and may borrow or raise by tax what is necessary to meet the more common expenses of the county. Other county officers are a treasurer, clerk, sheriff, register of deeds, attorney, surveyor and two coroners, each elected for a term of two years, a school commissioner elected for a term of four years, and one or more notaries public appointed by the governor.

Under the revised constitution of 1908 the former classification of cities into four classes and the practice of granting special charters were abolished, and the legislature is required to provide by general laws for the incorporation of cities and villages; “such general laws shall limit their rate of taxation for municipal purposes and restrict their powers of borrowing money and contracting debts.” Cities and villages are permitted—upon authorization by the affirmative vote of three-fifths of the electors voting on the question—to own and operate, even outside their corporate limits, public utilities for supplying water, light, heat, power and transportation, and may sell and deliver, outside their corporate limits, water, heat, power and light to an amount not more than one-fourth that furnished by them in each case within their corporate limits; but no city or village of less than 25,000 inhabitants may own or operate transportation facilities. Under the revision of 1908 corporate franchises cannot be granted for a longer term than thirty years.

Law.—A wife in Michigan has the same right to her property acquired either before or after marriage as she would have if single, except that she cannot under ordinary circumstances give, grant or sell it to another without her husband’s consent. Grounds for a divorce are adultery, physical incapacity at the time of marriage, sentence to imprisonment for three years or more, desertion for two years, habitual drunkenness, extreme cruelty, or, in case of the wife, refusal of the husband to provide for her maintenance when sufficiently able to do so; but in case the parties were married outside of Michigan the party seeking the divorce must reside within the state at least one year before petitioning for the same. An insolvent debtor’s homestead—consisting of not more than 40 acres of land with a house thereon, or a house and lot in a city or village not exceeding $1500 in value, together with not less than $500 of his personal property—is exempt from execution. For several years previous to 1876 a clause of the constitution prohibited the sale of intoxicating liquors within the state. Since then the whole liquor business has been subjected to a heavy tax, and since 1887 the prohibition of it has been left to the option of each of the several counties. A state court of mediation and arbitration, consisting of three members appointed by the governor with the consent of the senate, was created in 1889 to inquire into the cause of grievances threatening or resulting in any strike or lock-out and to endeavour to effect a settlement.

Charitable and Penal Institutions.—The state supports the Michigan Asylum for the Insane (opened 1859), at Kalamazoo; the Eastern Michigan Asylum for the Insane (opened 1878), at Pontiac; the Northern Michigan Asylum for the Insane (opened 1885), at Traverse City; the Michigan Asylum for the Dangerous and Criminal Insane (established 1885), at Ionia; the Upper Peninsula Hospital for the Insane, at Newberry; a Psychopathic Hospital (established 1907), at Ann Arbor; a State Sanatorium (established 1905), at Howell; the Michigan State Prison (established 1839), at Jackson; the Michigan Reformatory (established 1887), at Ionia; the State House of Correction and Branch Prison (established 1885), at Marquette; the Industrial School for Boys, at Lansing; the Industrial Home for Girls (established 1879), near Adrian; the State Public School (opened 1874), at Coldwater, a temporary home for dependent children until homes in families can be found for them; the School for the Deaf (established 1854), at Flint; the School for the Blind, at Lansing; an Employment Institution for the Blind (established 1903), at Saginaw; the Home for the Feeble Minded and Epileptic (established 1893), at Lapeer; and the Michigan Soldiers’ Home (established 1885), at Grand Rapids. Each of these institutions is under the control of a board of three or more members appointed by the governor with the approval of the Senate, and at the head of the department is the State Board of Corrections and Charities, consisting of the governor and four other members appointed by him, with the approval of the Senate, for a term of eight years, one retiring every two years. This board is required to visit each of the institutions at least once a year to ascertain its condition and needs, and all proposed appropriations for their support, plans of buildings, proposed systems of sewerage, ventilation and heating must be submitted to it.

Education.—Michigan was a pioneer state in creating the American educational system; she began the organization of it at the time of her admission into the Union in 1837, and has since been noted for the high standard of her schools. Each township operating under the District Act has two school inspectors—one being elected at each town meeting for a term of two years—who with the township clerk constitute the township board of school inspectors, and to this board is given authority to divide the township into school districts and to exercise a general supervision over the several schools within their jurisdiction; a township may be organized as a single district, called a “township unit district.” The qualified electors of each district having an ungraded school elect a moderator, a director and a treasurer—one at each annual school meeting—for a term of three years, who constitute the district school board, and this board is entrusted with ample power for directing the affairs of the school. In a district having more than 100 children of school age a graded school under the control of five trustees is formed whenever two-thirds of the electors vote for it at a town meeting, and the trustees of a graded school may establish a high school whenever a majority of the electors authorize them to do so. A high school may also be established in any township in which there is no incorporated village or city if when the question is submitted to the electors of that township a majority of the votes cast are in the affirmative. Each county has a county school commissioner, elected for a term of four years, who exercises a general supervision over the schools within his jurisdiction, and a board of examiners, consisting of three members (including the commissioner) and appointed by the several boards of county supervisors, from whom teachers receive certificates. Finally, at the head of all the public elementary and secondary schools of the state is the state superintendent of public instruction, elected for a term of two years; he is ex officio a member and secretary of the state board of education, and a member, with the right to speak but not to vote, of all other boards having control of public instruction in any state institution. In every district having as many as 800 children between the ages of five and twenty the state requires that the school be taught not less than nine months a year; and a compulsory education law requires the attendance of all children between the ages of eight and fifteen for four months each year, in cities all between the same ages for the full school year, and between the ages of seven and sixteen if found frequenting public places without lawful occupation.

The higher state institutions of learning consist of a university, to which graduates of high schools on an accredited list are admitted without examination, four normal schools, an agricultural college, and a school of mines. The university (at Ann Arbor) was established in 1837, and is under the control of a board of regents elected by the people for a term of eight years, two every two years; the president of the institution and the superintendent of public instruction are members of the board but without the right to vote. The state normal schools are: the Michigan State Normal College at Ypsilanti (organized in 1849); the Central Michigan Normal School at Mount Pleasant (established in 1895); the Northern State Normal School at Marquette (established in 1899); and the Western State Normal School at Kalamazoo (established in 1904). All of them are under the state board of education, which consists of the state superintendent of public instruction and three other members elected, one every two years, for a term of six years. The agricultural college, at East Lansing, 3 m. east of Lansing, is the oldest in the United States; it was provided for by the state constitution of 1850, organized in 1855 and opened in 1857, and is under the control of the state board of agriculture, consisting of the president of the college and six other members elected by popular vote for a term of six years, two every two years. The college of mines, at Houghton, was established in 1885 and is under the control of a board of six members appointed by the governor with the approval of the Senate, two every two years. In 1908 it had 35 instructors, 253 students, and a library of 22,000 volumes. Other important institutions of learning within the state but not maintained by it are: Albion College (Methodist Episcopal; opened in 1843), at Albion; Hillsdale College (Free Baptist, 1855), at Hillsdale; Kalamazoo College (Baptist, 1855), at Kalamazoo; Adrian College (controlled by the Methodist Protestant Church since 1867), at Adrian; Olivet College (Congregational, 1859), at Olivet; Hope College (Reformed, 1866), at Holland; Detroit College (Roman Catholic, 1877), at Detroit; Alma College (Presbyterian; incorporated 1886), at Alma; and some professional schools at Detroit (q.v.).

Finance.—The revenue of the state is derived almost wholly from taxes, about 87% from a direct or general property tax and the rest from various specific or indirect taxes, such as the liquor tax and the inheritance tax. The direct tax, other than that on the property of corporations, is assessed by the township supervisors, or, in cities and incorporated villages by the officer named in the charter for that service, on what is supposed to be the full cash value of the property. The assessment roll thus prepared is reviewed by a local board of review; an equalization between the assessing districts in a county is made annually by the county board of supervisors, and between the counties in the state every five years (and at such other times as the legislature may direct) by the state board of equalization, which is composed of the lieutenant-governor, auditor-general, secretary of state, treasurer, and commissioner of the land office. But at the head of the whole taxing system is the board of state tax commissioners and ex officio state board of assessors, consisting of three members appointed by the governor with the approval of the senate for a term of six years. It exercises a general supervision over all other taxing officers and is itself the assessor of the property of railroads, express companies and certain car companies. Mainly through the efficiency of this board the assessed value of the taxable property of the state was increased from $968,189,087 in 1899 to $1,418,251,858 in 1902, or 46·4%, and the taxes levied on railways, which had hitherto been assessed on their gross earnings, were increased from $1,483,907 in 1901 to $3,288,162 in 1902, or 121·6%. In entering upon the work of public improvements in 1837 the state borrowed $5,200,000, and the greater portion of the bonds were sold to the Morris Canal and Banking Company and to the Pennsylvania United States Bank, both of which failed when they had only in part paid for the bonds. About this time it was seen that the cost of the improvements undertaken would be much greater than the original estimate and that several of them were impracticable. The difficulty of meeting the interest as it became due soon threatened to be insurmountable, but the state finally sold the improvements made and came out of the experience with good credit although with a large debt—about two and a half millions of dollars. This was further increased during the Civil War, but after the close of that war it was rapidly diminished and finally was extinguished in the last decade of the century. The present constitution (as revised in 1908) forbids the contraction of a state debt exceeding $250,000 except for repelling an invasion or suppressing an insurrection, and the borrowing power of the minor civil divisions is restricted by a general law.

The early experience of the state with banks was scarcely less serious than that with public improvements. Although there were already fifteen banks in the state in 1837 yet the cry against monopoly was loud, and so in that year a general banking law was passed whereby any ten or more freeholders might establish a bank with a capital of not less than fifty thousand nor more than three hundred thousand dollars and begin business as soon as 30% of the capital was paid in in specie. Only a few provisions were made, and those ineffectual, for the protection of the public: later in the same year the legislature passed an act for the suspension of specie payments until the 6th of May 1838, and the consequence was that the state was flooded with irredeemable paper currency. But most of the “wild cat” banks had passed out of existence by 1839, and in 1844 the bank act of 1837 was declared unconstitutional. Profiting by this experience, the framers of the constitution of 1850 inserted a provision in that document whereby no general banking law can have effect until it has been submitted to the people and has been approved by a majority of the votes cast on the question. This provision is included in the revised constitution adopted in 1908, with an additional provision that no amendment shall be made to any banking law unless it shall receive an affirmative two-thirds vote of both branches of the legislature. The present banking law provides that the capital stock of a state bank shall be not less than $20,000 in a city of not more than 1500 inhabitants, not less than $25,000 in a city of not more than 5000, not less than $50,000 in a city of between 5000 and 20,000, not less than $100,000 in a city of between 20,000 and 110,000, and not less than $250,000 in all larger cities. Commercial banks and savings banks are required to keep on hand at least 15% of their total deposits. Every stockholder in a bank is made individually liable to the amount of his stock at its par value in addition to the said stock. And all banks are subject to the inspection and supervision of the commissioner of the state banking department, who is appointed by the governor with the approval of the Senate for a term of four years.

History.—From 1613 until 1760 the territory now within the borders of Michigan formed a part of New France, and the first Europeans to found missions and settlements within those borders were Frenchmen. Two Jesuits, Raymbault and Jogues, visited the site of Sault Sainte Marie as early as 1641 for the conversion of the Chippewas; in 1668 Marquette founded there the first permanent settlement within the state; three years later he had founded a mission among the Hurons at Michilimackinac; La Salle built a fort at the mouth of the Saint Joseph in 1679; and in 1701 Cadillac founded Detroit as an important point for the French control of the fur trade. But the missionaries were not interested in the settlement of the country by Europeans, the fur traders were generally opposed to it, there was bitter strife between the missionaries and Cadillac, and the French system of absolutism in government and monopoly in trade were further obstacles to progress. Even Detroit was so expensive to the government of the mother country that there was occasional talk of abandoning it; and so during the last fifty-nine years that Michigan was a part of new France there were no new settlements, and little if any growth in those already established. During the last war between the English and the French in America the Michigan settlements passed into the possession of the English, Detroit in 1760 and the others in 1761, but the time had not yet come for much improvement. The white inhabitants, still mostly French, were subjected to an English rule that until the Quebec Act of 1774 was chiefly military, and as a consequence many of the more thrifty sought homes elsewhere, and the Indians, most of whom had been allies of the French, were so ill-treated, both by the officers and traders, that under Pontiac, chief of the Ottawas, a simultaneous attack on the English posts was planned. Detroit was besieged for five months and both Michilimackinac and Saint Joseph were taken. Moreover, the English policy, which first of all was concerned with the profits of trade and manufacture, gave little more encouragement to the settlement of this section of the country than did the French. By the Treaty of Paris, in 1783, which concluded the American War of Independence, the title to what is now Michigan passed to the United States, and in 1787 this region became a part of the North-West Territory; but it was not until 1796 that Detroit and Mackinac (Michilimackinac), in accordance with Jay’s Treaty of 1794, were surrendered by Great Britain. In 1800, on the division of the North-West Territory, the west portion of Michigan became a part of the newly-established Indiana Territory, into which the entire area of the present state was embodied in 1802, when Ohio was admitted to the Union; and finally, in 1805, Michigan Territory was organized, its south boundary being then described as a line drawn east from the south extremity of Lake Michigan until it intersected Lake Erie, and its west boundary a line drawn from the same starting point through the middle of Lake Michigan to its north extremity and then due north to the north boundary of the United States. In 1812, during the second war between Great Britain and the United States, General William Hull, first governor of the Territory, although not greatly outnumbered, surrendered Detroit to the British without a struggle; in the same year also Mackinac was taken and Michigan again passed under British rule. This rule was of short duration, however, for soon after Commodore Oliver H. Perry’s victory on Lake Erie, in September of the next year, Detroit and the rest of Michigan except Mackinac, which was not recaptured until July 1815, were again taken into the possession of the United States. Up to this time the Territory had still remained for the most part a wilderness in which the fur trade reaped the largest profits, its few small settlements being confined, to the borders; and the inaccurate reports of the surveyors sent out by the national government described the interior as a vast swamp with only here and there a little land fit for cultivation. The large number of hostile Indians was also a factor in making the Territory unattractive. But during the efficient administration of Lewis Cass, governor of the Territory from 1813 to 1831, the interference of the British was checked and many of the Indians were removed to the west of the Mississippi; printing presses, established during the same period at Detroit, Ann Arbor, Monroe and Pontiac, became largely instrumental in making the country better known; the first steamboat, the “Walk-in-the-Water,” appeared at Detroit in 1818; the Erie canal was opened in 1825; by 1830 a daily boat line was running between Detroit and Buffalo, and the population of Michigan, which was only 4762 in 1810 and 8896 in 1820, increased to 31,639 in 1830 and 212,267 in 1840. In 1819 the Territory had been empowered to send a delegate to Congress. By 1832 the question of admission into the Union had arisen, and in 1835 a convention was called in Detroit, a constitution was framed in May, that constitution was adopted by popular vote in October, state officers were elected, and application for admission was made; but a dispute with Ohio over the boundary between the two caused a delay in the admission by Congress until early in the year 1837. Although the ordinance creating the North-West Territory fixed the boundary line as claimed by Michigan, yet that line was found to be farther south than was at the time expected and when the constitution of Ohio was adopted it was accompanied with a proviso designed to secure to that state a north boundary that was north of the mouth of the Maumee River. The territory between the two proposed lines was unquestionably of greater economic importance to Ohio than to Michigan, and, besides, at this particular time there were forcible political reasons for not offending the older state. The consequence was that after the bloodless “war” between the two states for the possession of Toledo, Congress settled the dispute in Ohio’s favour and gave to Michigan the territory since known as the upper peninsula. The boundaries as fixed by Congress were rejected by a convention which met on the 4th of September at Ann Arbor, but they were accepted by the convention of the Jackson party, which met, also at Ann Arbor, on the 6th of December; the action of this latter convention was considered authoritative by Congress, which admitted Michigan into the Union as a state on the 26th of January 1837. Since admission into the Union the more interesting experiences of the state have been with internal improvements and with banking, which together resulted in serious financial distress; in the utilization of its natural resources, which have been a vast source of wealth; and in the development of its educational system, in which the state has exerted a large influence throughout the Union. From the beginning of its government under its first state constitution in 1835 until 1855 Michigan had a Democratic administration with the exception of the years 1840–1842, when opposition to the financial measures of the Democrats placed the Whigs in power. But it was in Michigan that the Republican party received its first official recognition, at a state convention held at Jackson on the 6th of July 1857, and from the beginning of the following year the administration has been Republican with the exception of two terms from 1883 to 1885, and from 1891 to 1893, when it was again Democratic.

Governors of Michigan

William Hull 1805–1813
Lewis Cass 1813–1831
Stevens Thompson Mason (acting)  1831
George Bryan Porter 1831–1834
Stevens Thompson Mason (acting) 1834–1835
John Scott Horner (acting) 1835
Stevens Thompson Mason Democrat 1835–1840
William Woodbridge Whig 1840–1841
James Wright Gordon (acting) 1841–1842
John Steward Barry . Democrat 1842–1846
Alpheus Felch 1846–1847
William L. Greenly (acting) 1847–1848
Epaphroditus Ransom 1848–1850
John Steward Barry 1850–1851
Robert McClelland 1851–1853
Andrew Parsons (acting) 1853–1855
Kinsley S. Bingham Republican 1855–1859
Moses Wisner 1859–1861
Austin Blair 1861–1865
Henry Howland Crapo 1865–1869
Henry Porter Baldwin 1869–1873
John Judson Bagley 1873–1877
Charles Miller Croswell 1877–1881
David Howell Jerome 1881–1883
Josiah W. Begole Democrat and Greenback  1883–1885
Russell Alexander Alger Republican 1885–1887
Cyrus Gray Luce 1887–1891
Edwin Baruch Winans Democrat 1891–1893
John T. Rich Republican 1893–1897
Hazen Smith Pingree 1897–1901
Aaron Thomas Bliss 1901–1905
Fred M. Warner 1905–1911
Chase S. Osborn 1911

Authorities.—The Publications of the Michigan Geological Survey (Detroit, Lansing and New York, 1838 seq.) deal largely with the mining districts of the upper peninsula. Alexander Winchell, Michigan: Being Condensed Popular Sketches of the Topography, Climate and Geology of the State (1873), is in large measure restricted to the south half of the state. W. J. Beal and C. F. Wheeler, Michigan Flora (Lansing, 1892), contains the results of an extensive study of the subject. See also the Twelfth Census of the United States (Washington, 1901–1902); Silas Farmer, Michigan Book: a State Cyclopaedia with Sectional County Maps (Detroit, 1901); Bela Hubbard, Memorials of a Half-Century (New York, 1887), a well written account of observations, chiefly upon scenery, fauna, flora and climate; Webster Cook, Michigan: its History and Government (New York, 1905), written primarily for use in schools and containing a reference bibliography; A. C. McLaughlin, History of Higher Education in Michigan, in Circulars of Information of the United States Bureau of Education (Washington, 1891), being an account of the origin of the public school system and an individual account of each higher institution of learning; T. M. Cooley, Michigan: a History of Government (Boston, 1885), a critical but popular narrative by an eminent jurist; J. V. Campbell, Outlines of the Political History of Michigan (Detroit, 1876), also by a jurist of the state; Henry M. Utley and Byron M. Cutcheon, Michigan as a Province, Territory and State (4 vols., New York, 1906); Michigan Pioneer and Historical Society, Historical Collections: Collections and Researches (Lansing, 1877 seq.); and Publications of the Michigan Political Science Association (Ann Arbor, 1893).

Emery Walker sc.

  1. This is the northernmost point of the mainland; the most northerly of the islands north-east of Isle Royal and belonging to Michigan is more than 40′ further north.
  2. In addition, within the boundaries of Michigan, are approximately 16,653 sq. m. of Lake Superior, 12,992 sq. m. of Lake Michigan, 9925 sq. m. of Lake Huron and 460 sq. m. of lakes St Clair and Erie.
  3. Under the revised constitution of 1908 the legislature is authorized to provide for the reforestation of state lands.
  4. The 1904 census, taken by the Federal Bureau of the Census in co-operation with the secretary of state of Michigan, covered the year ending on the 30th of June 1904, and is thus not strictly comparable with the “1905” census of manufactures for other states, which were for the year ending on the 31st of December 1904. But like the special census of manufactures in other states, it is confined to establishments under the factory system, and hence its figures are considerably less than they would have been had it been taken on the same basis as that of the 1900 census, which included hand trades and other custom work; for example, on the basis of the 1904 census the value of the manufactured products in 1900 was only $319,691,856, and as that of 1904 was $429,120,060, the real increase was 34·2% instead of 20·19%. In the above text from this point the statistics given for 1900 are for factory products only.
  5. In 1909 telegraph and telephone companies were put under the supervision of the same board.