Why is Missouri Called the “Show Me State”?

“I come from a state that raises corn and cotton and cockleburs… frothy eloquence neither convinces nor satisfies me.

“I am from Missouri. You have got to show me.”


These words were spoken by┬áMissouri’s U.S. Congressman Willard Duncan Vandiver (bio), who served in the United States House of Representatives from 1897 to 1903. (1)


The phrase is now used to describe the character of Missourians; not gullible, conservative, and unwilling to believe without adequate evidence. (2)


The Missouri License plate also bears the unofficial nickname “Show Me State”: