Missouri Compromise of 1820

Best Essays
The Missouri Compromise of 1820

In November of 1818, Missouri petitioned Congress for statehood and ignited a controversy over slavery and a balance of power in the Senate that would span two sessions of Congress and threaten the dissolution of the Union and a civil war. Prior to the Missouri question, the Union had eleven Free states and eleven slave states, each with two Senators. The Missouri Territory, carved out of land acquired in the Louisiana Purchase in 1803, covered an expanse of land just north of the Ohio River and just west of the Mississippi (these rivers joined in the southeastern corner of the territory). According to the terms of the Ordinance of 1787, which prohibited slavery in the Northwest Territory, the Missouri Territory was designated a free territory, but many of the settlers had brought their slaves with them when they settled the area and were determined to enter the Union as a slave state. With the growing abolitionist sentiment in the North and the South pressing to legalize slavery, permitting Missouri to enter the Union as a slave state would tilt the power of the Senate in favor of the South and make the realization of legalizing slavery more attainable. Since 1809, the issue of slavery had been relatively quiet, but Missouri’s request to enter the Union as a slave state just at the nation was beginning to expand westward, thrust the question of slavery back into the spotlight of national politics. A set of compromises, known as the Missouri Compromise of 1820, allowed Congress to avoid a resolution on the issue of slavery.

The Missouri question was the first slavery related political crisis of the 1800’s. It was an attempt to allow slavery in a state considered a free territory. Just after the American Revolution, Congress divided the land ceded by Great Britain in the 1783 Treaty of Paris, into free and slave regions. The Ordinance of 1787 permitted the introduction of slavery in the territory south of the Ohio River



Cited: Primary Sources Annals of 15th Congress Session 2. Vol.1. A Century of Lawmaking for a New Nation. Library of Congress. n.d. Web. 17 October 2012. “Letter to John Holmes 20 April 1820”. Thomas Jefferson Exhibition. Library of Congress. August 3, 2010. Web. 17 October 2012. Secondary Sources Dixon, Susan B. The True History of the Missouri Compromise and its Repeal. Cincinnati: The Robert Clarke Company, 1899. Print Forner, Eric. Give Me Liberty! An American History. Vol. 1. 3rd ed. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, Inc. 2011. Print. Glover, Moore. The Missouri Controversy 1819-1821. Lexington: University of Kentucky Press, 1966. Print Ransom, Roger, L. “A House Divided: American Slavery in the Antebellum Era.” American Slavery Ed. William Dudley. San Diego: Greenhaven Press, 2000. 83-91. Print.

You May Also Find These Documents Helpful

  • Good Essays

    The 1820 Missouri Compromise Slavery and the Civil War By Stephen Waters Research Task- Describe the role of the 1820 Missouri Compromise in the campaign against slavery! The 1820 Missouri Compromise played a large role in the campaign against slavery. In 1819 Missouri became a statehood and congress considered framing a state constitution, with this a representative attempted to add a anti-slavery legislation with it. This is what started the process of the campaign against slavery…

    • 1190 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    Missouri Compromise

    • 507 Words
    • 3 Pages

    The Missouri Compromise was passed in 1820 between the pro-slavery and anti-slavery state representatives. The compromise involved the regulation of slavery in the western territories. It prohibited slavery north of the parallel 36°30′ north except within the boundaries of the proposed state boundaries of the Missouri territory. In return for Missouri being a freed state, Maine was allowed to become a state separate from Massachusetts. The Events that led up to the compromise are not nearly as important…

    • 507 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    Missouri Compromise

    • 618 Words
    • 3 Pages

    In 1820, the United States Congress passed the Missouri Compromise. Before it was passed the Northern states and Southern states had different ideas of the states. The North wanted to limit slavery, while the Southern states wanted more slavery. Missouri wanted to become a slave state in 1820, but the Northern states wouldn’t allow it. As a compromise, Missouri could be a slave state as long as Maine was added as its own free state, thus the Missouri Compromise. Along with these factors a rule of…

    • 618 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    Missouri Compromise

    • 274 Words
    • 2 Pages

    The Missouri Compromise was passed in 1820 between the pro-slavery and anti-slavery factions in the United States Congress, involving primarily the regulation of slavery in the western territories. It prohibited slavery in the former Louisiana Territory north of the parallel 36°30′ north except within the boundaries of the proposed state of Missouri. The 1820 passage of Missouri Compromise took place during the presidency of James Monroe. The Missouri Compromise was implicitly repealed by the…

    • 274 Words
    • 2 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    Missouri Compromise

    • 816 Words
    • 4 Pages

    The Missouri Compromise The Missouri Compromise, written by Henry Clay, attempted to limit the slavery boundaries; it was later declared unconstitutional and is also considered one of many events that led to the American Civil War. The compromise became a precedent for settling subsequent North and South disagreements over slavery and duty issues, and it remained in effect until rescinded by the Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854. The Missouri Compromise eased tensions between the North and the South…

    • 816 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Better Essays

    Missouri Compromise

    • 951 Words
    • 4 Pages

    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…

    • 951 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Better Essays
  • Better Essays

    Missouri Compromise

    • 1338 Words
    • 6 Pages

    These failed compromises served purposes other than their intended ones. They served to “feed the extremist factions” in each of the divided sections of America. The deterioration of these compromises aided the progression of groups like the Radical Republicans, Know- Nothings, Free-Soil Party, and Abolitionists. One of the compromises that served to feed these factions was the Missouri Compromise. As stated before, this compromise debated on the admission Maine and Missouri as slave or free states…

    • 1338 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Better Essays
  • Good Essays

    The Missouri Compromise

    • 840 Words
    • 4 Pages

    Written Analysis #4 The Missouri Compromise had many effects on American culture, including an economic effect by prohibiting slavery in the unorganized territory north of Missouri’s southern border, a political suspicion between those representing the south and those representing the north as well as a balance of slave and free states, and had a social impact by creating a definite separation between “the North” and “the South” and also allowing free blacks to remain in Missouri resulting from a dispute…

    • 840 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    The Missouri Compromise

    • 1142 Words
    • 5 Pages

    North and South were clashing with, “irreconcilable differences of principle, and bleeding from wounds within their own household” on June 13, 1860, only a year before the civil war commenced. Compromises worked to diffuse tensions early on; however as ideas like popular sovereignty came into play, compromises were no longer effective. Cultural and economic differences between the North and South continually intensified until finally reaching a climax in 1861 when the civil war started in earnest.…

    • 1142 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    The Missouri Compromise

    • 357 Words
    • 2 Pages

    The Missouri Compromise was a bad solution, because it did not solve the slave problem but it was also a good compromise because it lasted for several years and temporarily solved the conflict of whether or not the new states would be slave states or free states. Perhaps the more important aspect of the Missouri Compromise was the agreement that no territory to the north of Missouri’s southern border could enter the Union as a slave state. That part of the compromise effectively stopped slavery from…

    • 357 Words
    • 2 Pages
    Good Essays