Missouri Compromise Facts

Missouri Compromise Facts
As the United States grew in the early nineteenth century in both population and physical size, tensions between the free labor Northern states and the slave states of the South became more and more apparent. As new states were added to the Union, they brought more political power for either the North or South: each new state of course had two senators and a proportional amount of congressman. Northerners opposed the westward expansion of slavery on economic, political, and sometimes on moral grounds, although the first two reasons took precedent, while Southerners viewed expanding slavery as integral to their political survival as well as a way to expand their dying form of economy. The states were evenly split in 1819 when it was proposed that Missouri Territory be admitted as a state, presumably as a slave state since slavery was practiced in its borders. Main also applied for statehood that year as a free state, but resistance from the North still persisted. A compromise was largely engineered by Speaker of the House Henry Clay of Kentucky. The compromise admitted Missouri as a slave state, Maine as a free state, and prohibited future western territories north of the 36°30 parallel of practicing slavery. The compromise became known as the Missouri Compromise or the Compromise of 1820 and Henry Clay became known as the "Great Compromiser."
Interesting Missouri Compromise Facts:
The pro-slavery faction in Congress was known as "anti-restrictionists," while the anti-slavery faction was the "restrictionists."
President James Monroe signed the compromise into law on March 6, 1820. Monroe was from Virginia and a slave owner, although he wasn't a major advocate in terms of expanding slavery into the West.
Slavery in Missouri became an issue when on February 13, 1819, Representative James Tallmadge Junior added an amendment to the statehood bill that prohibited bringing more slaves into the state and gradually freed those born into slavery.
The two major political parties of the time were the Democratic-Republicans and the Federalists. Monroe was a Democratic-Republican, as were most in the South and in the North west of New England. The sectional differences became more important during the Missouri statehood debates, though, with the Northern Democratic-Republicans voting with the Federalists to restrict slavery in Missouri.
Although 60% of all white Americans, of which only the men could vote in 1819, lived in the North, the Northern states held only a slight majority in House seats due to the 3/5 clause of the Constitution, which counted 3/5 of the slave population for congressional representation. This clause was continued in Missouri.
The long-term effects of the Missouri Compromise are debated by historians. Most agree that it postponed the Civil War for several years or even decades, but some believe that it exposed the rift between North and South even more and ensured that conflict would happen later.
The 36°30 element of the compromise, which was considered to be the most important part of it, was repealed in the Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854.

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