Summary of the Causes of and the Provisions of the MissouriCompromise
The years leading up to 1820 saw the rise of tension in the USCongress and the country at large. The tension built up between thepro-slavery and the antislavery functions. The pressure reached theboiling point in the year 1819 when Missouri was admitted into theslave state Union. It was thought that admission could createimbalance between the slave state and the Free States. The Congresshad to play a hard but witty game by admitting Missouri but at thesame time admitting Maine into the Free State Union. It is also atthis particular time that the amendment that drew an imaginary linebetween the free and the slave regions was drawn in the formerLouisiana Territory.
The compromise was entity an orchestrated move by the Congress to tryand cool the tension that had emerged after the Congress admittedMissouri as a state where slaves were allowed. During this period,the US had only 22 states. These states were evenly divided betweenthe Free states and the slave state. The admittance of the new statewas thus a threat to this balance because the slave’s state couldhave heard more states than the anti-slave states.
The northern territory was strictly antislavery, and any efforts tocreate slavery or slavery state was strongly opposed in the senate.Slavery had already started creeping into the northwestern territory.This is the region between the Ohio Rivers and the Great Lakes. Thiswas happening even though the Northwestern Ordinance was still inplay and prohibited slaves in that region. The migrants from theSouth preferred to move with their slave and slowly slavery found itsway in this region. The northern feared that the admission of slaveryin this region would turn the states into a de facto slave state(Celia).
The congress representative Jane Tallmadge made two amendments to thebill in the year 1819. The first amendment prohibited the admissionof more slave to Missouri. The second amendment required the slowemancipation of the slaves that were already there. The amendmentswere passed along strict regional voting lines. In the Senate wherethe representation for free and slaveholding were balanced rejectedthe amendments. It is this rejection that created a heated debatethat lasted for a year till the request by Maine as a liberatedstate. The provision of the Missouri compromise fobbed the admissionof slavery into the former Louisiana Territory north of the parallel26 degrees 30’N. These provisions were repealed in the year 1854 bywhat is referred to as the Kansas-Nebraska act. The act stated thatany state wishing to enter the union will choose whether they wouldlike to remain a slave or Free State.
The Missouri compromise had three provisions. The first provisionstated that Maine would be declared as Free State. Secondly Missouriwould be declared as a slave state, and finally rest of the LouisianaPurchase would be free (Woods 416).
The compromise passage was quite important for the United States. Ithelped the country to deal with the divisive issue of a slave at atime when the country was facing economic difficulties brought by the1819 panic. The compromise favored both the south and the northequal. However, the solution was only short living since the issue ofslavery remained an issue years after the passage of the act. It wasonly during the 1850s that the matter seemed to have reached theseeding point with the passing of the Kansas-Nebraska Act.
Woods,Michael E. "What Twenty-First-Century Historians Have Said aboutthe Causes of Disunion: A Civil War Sesquicentennial Review of theRecent Literature." Journal of American History 99.2(2012): 415-439.
Celia,Missouri V. "A Slave State of Missouri V. Celia: 1855."