Origins of Sayings - I'm From Missouri You've Got to Show Me

Abuot the history and origins behind the famous saying I'm from Missoui, you've got to show me.

Stories behind Famous Sayings

The Saying: I'M FROM MISSOURI, YOU'VE GOT TO SHOW ME.

Who Said It: Willard Duncan Vandiver

When: 1899

The Story behind It: In the late 1800s, Westerners liked to refer to Missouri as the "Show Me State." The implication was that Missourians were a little slow and not very bright. Missourians, however, turned the definition around and claimed that "Show me" meant that they were particularly alert and shrewd and not easily taken in. The phrase did not receive national attention until 1899, when Willard Vandiver used it in a speech before the Five O'Clock Club in Philadelphia. Vandiver, a congressional representative from Missouri and a member of the House Committee on Naval Affairs, was in Philadelphia to inspect that city's navy yard. Afterwards, in honor of the inspection, a dinner was held. Even though Vandiver and Governor Hull of Iowa were the only invited guests without formal evening clothes, they agreed to attend the banquet. Hull, at the last minute, managed to show up wearing evening attire-but the suit had an odd look about it. After dinner, Hull gave a speech in which he jokingly explained why his suit did not fit. He then introduced Vandiver, who was also scheduled to speak. Vandiver, embarrassed at being more informally dressed than his dinner companions, delivered his speech and concluded it with a playful jab at Hull: "He tells you that the tailors, finding he was here without a dress suit, made one for him in 15 minutes. I have a different explanation. You heard him say he came over here without one, and you see him now with one that doesn't fit him. The explanation is that he stole mine, and that's the reason why you see him with one and me without any. This story from Iowa doesn't go at all with me; I'm from Missouri, you've got to show me."

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