The Missouri Compromise

The Missouri Compromise
To understand the tensions between the North and the
To understand how a compromise only delayed the
Now, about that slavery thing…
Slavery and labor-intensive crops were
staples in the South for roughly 100 years
 The North grew more and more annoyed
with the institution
 As more states applied for statehood,
whether they were to be slave or free
states became increasingly important
The Balance of Power
Between 1816-1819, four states were
admitted to the Union
 Indiana and Illinois were admitted as free
 Alabama and Mississippi were admitted as
slave states
 This balance would be upset as the
country grew into the Louisiana Purchase
Upsetting the Balance
The Union had 11 free states and 11 slave
 Missouri applied for statehood as a slave
 Allowing Missouri in as a slave state
would upset the balance in Congress
 Slavery had been a hot topic since the
creation of the Constitution
Pros and Cons
Defenders of slavery claimed that it was
beneficial for economic reasons
 Abolitionists argued that slavery
contradicted the basic principles of the
Declaration of Independence
 Both pro-slavery and abolitionist
Americans were willing to resort to
violence to achieve their goals
“Okay, then, each side gets a state!”
Since Congress was split, they decided to
add one slave state and one free state
 Maine became a free state
 Missouri became a slave state
 Henry Clay was the architect of the
Missouri Compromise and worked hard
to preserve the Union
Details of the Missouri
Missouri was admitted as a slave state
 Maine was admitted as a free state
 Slavery was forbidden north of the 36
degree latitude mark, the southern
boundary of Missouri
 People in the North were encouraged to
return runaway slaves to their masters
 Slavery was not prohibited anywhere, not
even in the free territories
Putting Off the Inevitable
This compromise kept the argument at
bay, but it didn’t do anything to cure the
 This course of action eventually put
Congress in a very difficult spot within
the next 30 years
 The US was going to have to make a
conclusive decision about slavery sooner
or later