Missouri Compromise

Missouri Compromise

Overview
The Missouri Compromise was an agreement passed in 1820 between the pro-slavery
Slave state
In the United States of America prior to the American Civil War, a slave state was a U.S. state in which slavery was legal, whereas a free state was one in which slavery was either prohibited from its entry into the Union or eliminated over time...

 and anti-slavery
Free state
Free state may refer to:* Free state , a loosely defined term used by various states at different times and places to describe themselves...

 factions in the United States Congress
United States Congress
The United States Congress is the bicameral legislature of the federal government of the United States, consisting of the Senate and the House of Representatives. The Congress meets in the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C....

, involving primarily the regulation of slavery in the western territories
Historic regions of the United States
This is a list of historic regions of the United States.-Colonial era :-The Thirteen Colonies:* Connecticut Colony* Delaware Colony* Province of Georgia* Province of Maryland...

. It prohibited slavery in the former Louisiana Territory
Louisiana Territory
The Territory of Louisiana or Louisiana Territory was an organized incorporated territory of the United States that existed from July 4, 1805 until June 4, 1812, when it was renamed to Missouri Territory...

 north of the parallel 36°30' north
Parallel 36°30' north
The parallel 36° 30′ north is a circle of latitude that is 36 and one-half degrees north of the Equator of the Earth. This parallel of latitude is particularly significant in the History of the United States as the line of the Missouri Compromise, which was used to divide the prosepctiveslave and...

 except within the boundaries of the proposed state of Missouri
Missouri
Missouri is a US state located in the Midwestern United States, bordered by Iowa, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Kansas and Nebraska. With a 2010 population of 5,988,927, Missouri is the 18th most populous state in the nation and the fifth most populous in the Midwest. It...

. Prior to the agreement, the House of Representatives
United States House of Representatives
The United States House of Representatives is one of the two Houses of the United States Congress, the bicameral legislature which also includes the Senate.The composition and powers of the House are established in Article One of the Constitution...

 had refused to accept this compromise and a conference committee was appointed.

A bill to enable the people of the Missouri Territory
Missouri Territory
The Territory of Missouri was an organized incorporated territory of the United States that existed from June 4, 1812 until August 10, 1821, when the southeastern portion of the territory was admitted to the Union as the State of Missouri.-History:...

 to draft a constitution and form a government preliminary to admission into the Union came before the House of Representatives
United States House of Representatives
The United States House of Representatives is one of the two Houses of the United States Congress, the bicameral legislature which also includes the Senate.The composition and powers of the House are established in Article One of the Constitution...

 in Committee of the Whole
Committee of the Whole
A Committee of the Whole is a device in which a legislative body or other deliberative assembly is considered one large committee. All members of the legislative body are members of such a committee...

, on February 13, 1819.
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Encyclopedia
The Missouri Compromise was an agreement passed in 1820 between the pro-slavery
Slave state
In the United States of America prior to the American Civil War, a slave state was a U.S. state in which slavery was legal, whereas a free state was one in which slavery was either prohibited from its entry into the Union or eliminated over time...

 and anti-slavery
Free state
Free state may refer to:* Free state , a loosely defined term used by various states at different times and places to describe themselves...

 factions in the United States Congress
United States Congress
The United States Congress is the bicameral legislature of the federal government of the United States, consisting of the Senate and the House of Representatives. The Congress meets in the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C....

, involving primarily the regulation of slavery in the western territories
Historic regions of the United States
This is a list of historic regions of the United States.-Colonial era :-The Thirteen Colonies:* Connecticut Colony* Delaware Colony* Province of Georgia* Province of Maryland...

. It prohibited slavery in the former Louisiana Territory
Louisiana Territory
The Territory of Louisiana or Louisiana Territory was an organized incorporated territory of the United States that existed from July 4, 1805 until June 4, 1812, when it was renamed to Missouri Territory...

 north of the parallel 36°30' north
Parallel 36°30' north
The parallel 36° 30′ north is a circle of latitude that is 36 and one-half degrees north of the Equator of the Earth. This parallel of latitude is particularly significant in the History of the United States as the line of the Missouri Compromise, which was used to divide the prosepctiveslave and...

 except within the boundaries of the proposed state of Missouri
Missouri
Missouri is a US state located in the Midwestern United States, bordered by Iowa, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Kansas and Nebraska. With a 2010 population of 5,988,927, Missouri is the 18th most populous state in the nation and the fifth most populous in the Midwest. It...

. Prior to the agreement, the House of Representatives
United States House of Representatives
The United States House of Representatives is one of the two Houses of the United States Congress, the bicameral legislature which also includes the Senate.The composition and powers of the House are established in Article One of the Constitution...

 had refused to accept this compromise and a conference committee was appointed.

A bill to enable the people of the Missouri Territory
Missouri Territory
The Territory of Missouri was an organized incorporated territory of the United States that existed from June 4, 1812 until August 10, 1821, when the southeastern portion of the territory was admitted to the Union as the State of Missouri.-History:...

 to draft a constitution and form a government preliminary to admission into the Union came before the House of Representatives
United States House of Representatives
The United States House of Representatives is one of the two Houses of the United States Congress, the bicameral legislature which also includes the Senate.The composition and powers of the House are established in Article One of the Constitution...

 in Committee of the Whole
Committee of the Whole
A Committee of the Whole is a device in which a legislative body or other deliberative assembly is considered one large committee. All members of the legislative body are members of such a committee...

, on February 13, 1819. An amendment offered by James Tallmadge
James Tallmadge
James Tallmadge, Jr. was an American lawyer and politician who served in the United States House of Representatives.-Biography:...

 of New York
New York
New York is a state in the Northeastern region of the United States. It is the nation's third most populous state. New York is bordered by New Jersey and Pennsylvania to the south, and by Connecticut, Massachusetts and Vermont to the east...

 (which was named the Tallmadge Amendment), which provided that the further introduction of slaves into Missouri should be forbidden, and that all children of slave parents born in the state after its admission should be free at the age of 25, was adopted by the committee and incorporated in the bill as finally passed on February 17, 1819 by the house. The United States Senate
United States Senate
The United States Senate is the upper house of the bicameral legislature of the United States, and together with the United States House of Representatives comprises the United States Congress. The composition and powers of the Senate are established in Article One of the U.S. Constitution. Each...

 refused to concur in the amendment, and the whole measure was lost.

During the following session (1819–1820), the House passed a similar bill with an amendment, introduced on January 26, 1820 by John W. Taylor
John W. Taylor (politician)
John W. Taylor was an early 19th century U.S. politician from New York.-Life:He was born in 1784 in that part of the Town of Ballston, then in Albany County, New York, which was, upon the creation of Saratoga County in 1791, split off to form the Town of Charlton...

 of New York
New York
New York is a state in the Northeastern region of the United States. It is the nation's third most populous state. New York is bordered by New Jersey and Pennsylvania to the south, and by Connecticut, Massachusetts and Vermont to the east...

, allowing Missouri into the union as a slave state. The question had been complicated by the admission in December of Alabama
Alabama
Alabama is a state located in the southeastern region of the United States. It is bordered by Tennessee to the north, Georgia to the east, Florida and the Gulf of Mexico to the south, and Mississippi to the west. Alabama ranks 30th in total land area and ranks second in the size of its inland...

, a slave state
Slave state
In the United States of America prior to the American Civil War, a slave state was a U.S. state in which slavery was legal, whereas a free state was one in which slavery was either prohibited from its entry into the Union or eliminated over time...

, making the number of slave and free states equal. In addition, there was a bill in passage through the House (January 3, 1820) to admit Maine
Maine
Maine is a state in the New England region of the northeastern United States, bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the east and south, New Hampshire to the west, and the Canadian provinces of Quebec to the northwest and New Brunswick to the northeast. Maine is both the northernmost and easternmost...

 as a free state.

The Senate decided to connect the two measures. It passed a bill for the admission of Maine with an amendment enabling the people of Missouri to form a state constitution. Before the bill was returned to the House, a second amendment was adopted on the motion of Jesse B. Thomas
Jesse B. Thomas
Jesse Burgess Thomas was born in Shepherdstown, Virginia . He served as a delegate from the Indiana Territory to the tenth Congress and later served as one of Illinois's first two Senators.- Biography :...

 of Illinois
Illinois
Illinois is the fifth-most populous state of the United States of America, and is often noted for being a microcosm of the entire country. With Chicago in the northeast, small industrial cities and great agricultural productivity in central and northern Illinois, and natural resources like coal,...

, excluding slavery from the Missouri Territory
Missouri Territory
The Territory of Missouri was an organized incorporated territory of the United States that existed from June 4, 1812 until August 10, 1821, when the southeastern portion of the territory was admitted to the Union as the State of Missouri.-History:...

 north of the parallel 36°30' north
Parallel 36°30' north
The parallel 36° 30′ north is a circle of latitude that is 36 and one-half degrees north of the Equator of the Earth. This parallel of latitude is particularly significant in the History of the United States as the line of the Missouri Compromise, which was used to divide the prosepctiveslave and...

 (the southern boundary of Missouri), except within the limits of the proposed state of Missouri.

Impact on political discourse


These disputes involved the competition between the southern and northern states for power in Congress and for control over future territories. There were also different factions emerging as the Democratic-Republican party began to lose its coherence.

In an April 21 letter to John Holmes
John Holmes (U.S. politician)
John Holmes was an American politician. Holmes, a National Republican, served as a U.S. Representative from Massachusetts and was one of the first two U.S. Senators from Maine. Holmes was noted for his involvement in the Treaty of Ghent.-Early life and education:Holmes was born in Kingston,...

, Thomas Jefferson
Thomas Jefferson
Thomas Jefferson was the principal author of the United States Declaration of Independence and the Statute of Virginia for Religious Freedom , the third President of the United States and founder of the University of Virginia...

 wrote that the division of the country created by the Compromise Line would eventually lead to the destruction of the Union:
Congress's consideration of Missouri's admission also raised the issue of sectional balance, for the country was equally divided between slave and free states, with eleven each. To admit Missouri as a slave state would tip the balance in the Senate (made up of two senators per state) in favor of the slave states. For this reason, northern states wanted Maine to be admitted as a free state. The people of Dedham, Massachusetts
Dedham, Massachusetts
Dedham is a town in and the county seat of Norfolk County, Massachusetts, United States. The population was 24,729 at the 2010 census. It is located on Boston's southwest border. On the northwest it is bordered by Needham, on the southwest by Westwood and on the southeast by...

 were against the compromise and sent a petition to Senator Edward Everett
Edward Everett
Edward Everett was an American politician and educator from Massachusetts. Everett, a Whig, served as U.S. Representative, and U.S. Senator, the 15th Governor of Massachusetts, Minister to Great Britain, and United States Secretary of State...

 addressing their grievance. Everett presented the petition on the floor of the Senate on April 6, 1854.

On the constitutional
United States Constitution
The Constitution of the United States is the supreme law of the United States of America. It is the framework for the organization of the United States government and for the relationship of the federal government with the states, citizens, and all people within the United States.The first three...

 side, the Compromise of 1820 was important as the first instance of Congressional exclusion of slavery from public territory acquired since the Northwest Ordinance
Northwest Ordinance
The Northwest Ordinance was an act of the Congress of the Confederation of the United States, passed July 13, 1787...

. im so cool im gunna chill with my babe 10/21/32:)

Following Maine 1820 and Missouri's 1821 admissions to the Union, no other states were admitted until 1836. Arkansas was admitted as a slave state, followed by Michigan in 1837 as a free state.

Second Missouri Compromise


The two houses were at odds not only on the issue of slavery, but also on the parliamentary question
Parliamentary procedure
Parliamentary procedure is the body of rules, ethics, and customs governing meetings and other operations of clubs, organizations, legislative bodies, and other deliberative assemblies...

 of the inclusion of Maine and Missouri within the same bill. The committee recommended the enactment of two laws, one for the admission of Maine, the other an enabling act
Enabling act
An enabling act is a piece of legislation by which a legislative body grants an entity which depends on it for authorization or legitimacy the power to take certain actions. For example, enabling acts often establish government agencies to carry out specific government policies in a modern nation...

 for Missouri. They recommended against having restrictions on slavery but for including the Thomas amendment. Both houses agreed, and the measures were passed on March 5, 1820, and ratified by President James Monroe
James Monroe
James Monroe was the fifth President of the United States . Monroe was the last president who was a Founding Father of the United States, and the last president from the Virginia dynasty and the Republican Generation...

 on March 6.

The question of the final admission of Missouri came up during the session of 1820–1821. The struggle was revived over a clause in its new constitution (1820) requiring the exclusion of "free negroes and mulattoes" from the state. Through the influence of Henry Clay
Henry Clay
Henry Clay, Sr. , was a lawyer, politician and skilled orator who represented Kentucky separately in both the Senate and in the House of Representatives...

, an act of admission was finally passed, upon the condition that the exclusionary clause of the Missouri constitution should "never be construed to authorize the passage of any law" impairing the privileges and immunities of any U.S. citizen. This deliberately ambiguous provision is sometimes known as the Second Missouri Compromise.

Repeal


The provisions of the Missouri Compromise forbidding slavery in the former Louisiana Territory
Louisiana Territory
The Territory of Louisiana or Louisiana Territory was an organized incorporated territory of the United States that existed from July 4, 1805 until June 4, 1812, when it was renamed to Missouri Territory...

 north of the parallel 36°30' north
Parallel 36°30' north
The parallel 36° 30′ north is a circle of latitude that is 36 and one-half degrees north of the Equator of the Earth. This parallel of latitude is particularly significant in the History of the United States as the line of the Missouri Compromise, which was used to divide the prosepctiveslave and...

 were effectively repealed by the Kansas-Nebraska Act
Kansas-Nebraska Act
The Kansas–Nebraska Act of 1854 created the territories of Kansas and Nebraska, opening new lands for settlement, and had the effect of repealing the Missouri Compromise of 1820 by allowing settlers in those territories to determine through Popular Sovereignty if they would allow slavery within...

 of 1854, despite efforts made to fight the Act by prominent speakers, including Abraham Lincoln
Abraham Lincoln
Abraham Lincoln was the 16th President of the United States, serving from March 1861 until his assassination in April 1865. He successfully led his country through a great constitutional, military and moral crisis – the American Civil War – preserving the Union, while ending slavery, and...

 in his "Peoria Speech
Abraham Lincoln Peoria speech
Abraham Lincoln's Peoria speech was made in Peoria, Illinois on October 16, 1854. The speech, with its specific arguments against slavery, was an important step in Abraham Lincoln's political ascension....

."

In the Dred Scott v. Sandford
Dred Scott v. Sandford
Dred Scott v. Sandford, , also known as the Dred Scott Decision, was a ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court that people of African descent brought into the United States and held as slaves were not protected by the Constitution and could never be U.S...

case in 1857, the Supreme Court
Supreme court
A supreme court is the highest court within the hierarchy of many legal jurisdictions. Other descriptions for such courts include court of last resort, instance court, judgment court, high court, or apex court...

 ruled that Congress did not have authority to prohibit slavery in territories, and that those provisions of the Missouri Compromise were unconstitutional. It found that, under the admission act of Missouri, blacks and mulattos did not qualify as citizens of the United States.

See also

  • Compromise of 1790
    Compromise of 1790
    The Compromise of 1790 was the first of three great political compromises made in the United States by the Northern and Southern states, occurring every thirty years, in an attempt to keep the Union together and prevent civil war...

  • Compromise of 1850
    Compromise of 1850
    The Compromise of 1850 was a package of five bills, passed in September 1850, which defused a four-year confrontation between the slave states of the South and the free states of the North regarding the status of territories acquired during the Mexican-American War...

  • Origins of the American Civil War
    Origins of the American Civil War
    The main explanation for the origins of the American Civil War is slavery, especially Southern anger at the attempts by Northern antislavery political forces to block the expansion of slavery into the western territories...

  • Royal Colonial Boundary of 1665
    Royal Colonial Boundary of 1665
    The Royal Colonial Boundary of 1665 is a historic civil engineering landmark, as designated by the American Society of Civil Engineers. It was a brainchild of King Charles II of Great Britain & Ireland to mark the boundaries of various English North American colonies...

  • Tallmadge Amendment
    Tallmadge Amendment
    The Tallmadge Amendment was submitted by James Tallmadge, Jr. in the United States House of Representatives on February 13, 1819, during the debate regarding the admission of Missouri as a state...


External links