Missouri Compromise

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Missouri Compromise

In 1819, the territory of Missouri applied for statehood. It was the first new state to be taken from the land acquired in the Louisiana Purchase. The issue of Missouri attempting to become a state sparked much debate and controversy. The debate in Congress was mainly about sectional power and not whether slavery was right or wrong. The people from the North disagreed with the added representation in Congress and in the Electoral College. Since Missouri would be a slave state, they would be able to count three-fifths of their slave population towards representation. The three-fifths rule had already added significant power to the South. In 1790, the South controlled 47 percent of Congress while only having 40 percent of the white population. The crisis brought the commitment of slavery and the resentment of Southern political power to a heated collision. The North vowed to give up no more land to slavery, while the South began talks of dissolving the union and civil war.

One man, James Tallmadge Jr., a congressman from New York, proposed amendments to the bill attempting to allow Missouri to become a state. One proposed the ban of additional slaves to be brought into Missouri. This would not allow Missouri to gain more representation by simply increasing their number of slaves. Also, the amendments would emancipate Missouri slaves born after its admission as a state when they reached an age of 25. This again would limit Missouri's slave population. The voting on the Tallmadge amendments was again largely sectional. The North had held a large majority in the House of Representatives and the South had a small majority in the Senate. The House accepted the amendments but the southern senators with help from a few others defeated them in the Senate.

After being deadlocked in Congress, the Missouri Compromise was finally passed by a new Congress in 1820. As part of the compromise, Massachusetts had offered its northern...
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