Missouri Compromise of 1820

2672 words 11 pages
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
…show more content…
“The institution of slavery and it implications,” (Forner 270) as James Madison said, divided the delegates, which included both slaveholders and abolitionists. The Constitution’s slavery clauses, although the words “slave” and “slavery” are never used in the Constitution, became an effort to narrow the sectional divide between the North and the South. Unfortunately, the clauses ended up widening the divide and entrenching slavery further into American life and politics. The clauses included prohibition from abolishing the African slave trade for 20 years, requiring states to return fugitive slaves to their owners and continuing the condition of bondage even if the slave escaped to a free state. The clauses also allowed the slave states to count their slave population in order to determine each state’s representation in the House and subsequently the amount of electoral votes for the President (the three-fifths clause). This was a victory for the South and slavery (Forner 270-71), indeed, “[t]he North paid that price in order to obtain a government that would protect its commercial, financial, and industrial interests” (Glover 8). The clauses restricted the government from interfering with slavery in the pro-slave states, and gave the South more significant representation in the House and greater control in national affairs (Forner 270-71). The adoption of the clauses into the Constitution did not aid the North and the South in finding common

Related

  • American Political Parties
    1601 words | 7 pages
  • Application of Theory
    2098 words | 9 pages
  • Causes of Civil War
    1856 words | 8 pages
  • Emancipation Proclamation
    2302 words | 10 pages
  • The Cause of the Civil War: Eli Whitney's Cotton Gin
    1813 words | 8 pages
  • Essays for the American Pageant, 14th Ed.
    11058 words | 45 pages
  • “Slavery Was the Dominating Reality in Southern Life.”  Assess the Validity of This Generalization for Two of the Following Aspects of Southern Life from About 1840-1860:  Political, Social, Economic, and Intellectual Life.
    917 words | 4 pages
  • Early Roots of Policing: Sir Robert Peel's (1820s) Nine Principles and Their Connection to Modern
    2468 words | 10 pages
  • Test: History of Michigan
    2327 words | 10 pages
  • Life Span Development and Personality Essay Questions
    1695 words | 7 pages