Remember When South Dakota Had Three Congressmen?
Every state has two Senators. Everybody. It doesn't matter if you're living in big 'ol New York or California or little 'ol South Dakota or really little Delaware. All 50 states have two...and only two...Senators. No more, no less.
Now, the House of Representatives, that's a whole 'nother story. The more folks in your state, the more Congresspeople that state has....which is why California has a million (OK, I'm ballparkin' that) and South Dakota has exactly...one.
And I know what you're sayin', 'Yeah, but I remember the good 'ol days when South Dakota had two!' And that's true. But...
Do you remember the good old days when South Dakota had three?? No, you probably don't but if I'm lyin' I'm dyin'. Tis true, South Dakota once sent three Congressmen to Washington (and I'm pretty sure they didn't jet back and forth every week).
It's 1889 and the United States made the wise decision to make a territory a state...well, two state's actually. They took Dakota Territory and made it to North Dakota and South Dakota. As far as our great state, we were allotted two Congressional seats, and interestingly, they weren't split into districts, like East River/West River. Nope, they were two 'at large' seats, representing the entire state. And so it was....South Dakota, this brand-spankin' new shiny state, had two.
For a while.
Thanks to the 1910 census and more folks discovering South Dakota, Bingo! We got a third Congressman (and yes, in them old days, it was Congressman). Yep, we were swingin' with the big boys now, with a new Congressional District carved out of twenty-one counties in southeastern South Dakota.
It stayed that way until that pesky 1930 census showed that, well, maybe we weren't quite as big as we thought we were. And just like that...Poof...we were back to two. For a while, the split in our two districts was basically the Missouri River, and with further population shifts, the district became twenty-one counties in Eastern South Dakota, with the second district covering the rest of the state.
But we were still sittin' pretty good with our two Congressmen. But uh-oh, here comes that census again, this time in 1980 and we'd shrunk enough that, yes, we were allotted just the one seat we now have. So, if you don't remember when we had two, perhaps your parents do. And maybe your Grandparents (or Great-Grandparents) remember when we had three.
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