3 March is the Anniversary of the Famous Missouri Compromise

3 March 1820 Congress agreed on a compromise to allow Missouri to join the United States on an “equal footing with the other states.””  Missouri would be admitted as a slave state, since many slaves already lived there.  But, slavery would be prohibited in the northern portion of the Louisiana Purchase.

The enabling act for Missouri to become a state was actually passed 19 Feb 1820.  Maine, too, wanted to become a state and Massachusetts had agreed to surrender the territory if the whole thing could be completed by 15 March.

The Thomas Bill, introduced 3 February and voted on by Congress 3 March, would by-pass the Tallmadge Amendment (1 Mar) and forestall the Taylor Amendment (3 Mar):

  1. Missouri admitted as a slave state
  2. Maine admitted as a free state
  3. Louisiana Purchase north of 36-30 would be free territory forever, excepting Missouri.

On 6 March 1820, Missouri was authorized to frame a state constitution and organize a government.  On August 10, 1821, President Monroe proclaimed Missouri a state.

Congress had debated the slavery question–without abolishing slavery.

On 25 May 1854, the Compromise was repealed when Kansas and Nebraska were allowed by the KS-NE Act to decide on slave or free by local self-rule vote.  This was called “popular Sovereignty” by one of its most vocal supporters–Stephen R. Douglas.

And the slavery question raged again throughout the land.  Important issues in this question included:

  • Protection of property rights, including public compensation for loss
  • Constitutional rights of states to exist on equal footing with other states without limitations on these legal rights
  • Congressional power to restrict state sovereignty

The question was finally resolved by war–since it was not illegal for a state to withdraw from the Union.  And by the time Abraham Lincoln took office as President, on an anti-slavery platform, 7 states in the South had already seceded with others lined up and ready to do so.

What does this have to do with your genealogy?

If you draw a line from East to West across Missouri parallel to the Missouri River, the northern section was heavily settled by Kentuckians with Virginians a close second.  The southern side of the line was settled by Tennesseans, with Virginians a close second.  Marylanders and persons from the deep South–Alabama, Mississippi–are also found.

Census schedules are too often incomplete and do not reflect those who went to Missouri to hide!  Your favorite genealogist, Arlene Eakle http://arleneeakle.com

PS  Congress is much the same today–seeking a compromise because the view from each side of the aisle is different.  It reflects a solid philosophical and often emotional difference.  You ignore it at the peril of your lineage.

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