U.S. History 1492-1877 5: The Missouri Compromise
Today we'll learn about how the Missouri Compromise, in part, led to Captain America and Iron Man engaging in epic an epic battle for...wait a second. Wrong civil war. It just led up to a war between the North and the South.
|Social Studies||U.S. History|
It's way too complicated for a short video, but we can zero in on some of
the big events that leant a helping hand in ripping the country apart.
In this edition, we'll take a look at the Missouri Compromise.
Here's the scoop.
In 1819, American settlers in Missouri were like…
"Hey, Congress, how 'bout you make us a state?"
Trouble was that many of the people in Missouri had migrated from
the South, bringing their slaves with them.
The region's slave population topped ten thousand.
So it was pretty clear that the Missourians would also say,
"Make that a slave state, please."
At the time, slave and free states were equally divided, 50/50.
So admitting Missouri into the Union as a slave state
would give slave states a majority in the Senate, and the North started freaking out.
New York Congressman James Tallmadge and many
northern representatives didn't want to see slavery spread into the West.
So they pitched that statehood be granted under the condition that slavery
would be gradually abolished within Missouri's borders.
No new slaves would be allowed to enter, and the children of all
those already in Missouri would be freed at the age of twenty-five.
Wow, and all we have to look forward to when we turn twenty-five
is reduced car rental costs.Yeah, seems like we've got the better end of that deal.
Well, this type of slavery killing policy was called gradual emancipation.
It'd been working like a charm since the Revolution in Northern states like
Connecticut, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, New York, and New Jersey.
This, of course, is what made Southern representatives say,
"Who do you think you're kiddin'?"
They knew that after 25 years, free states would have the edge in the Senate.
So Tallmadge's proposition was dead in the water.
One year later, Illinois Senator Jesse Thomas designed a compromise
that he hoped would make everybody happy. ...Except the slaves.
Missouri would be allowed to be a slave state if it felt like it…which it did.
But to offset the new slave state, Maine would be admitted to the Union as a free state.
On top of that, slavery would not be allowed in all remaining territory
north of the 36º30' parallel, the southern border of Missouri,
except, of course, within Missouri itself.
Congress decided that was probably the best idea anybody was going to come
up with, and voted to adopt Thomas's resolution as the Missouri Compromise.
The question of the legality of slavery had been successfully postponed yet
again, but of course it wouldn't last.
Northern powers opposed to slavery wanted the practice abolished altogether.
And southern slave owners wanted it expanded like our waist lines during the holidays.
Speaking of lines…
This line in the sand between the free North and slave-y South may not have been the best idea.
Yeah, it did lead to peace for a little while.
But in the long run, it beefed up regional beefs.
It was the North versus the South, not the United States.
Slavery formed the core of the debate, but there was another serious
issue at stake: the scope of federal power.
Congressman Tallmadge's proposal would have meant that the
federal government could place conditions on the creation of state constitutions.
That's the Feds telling the hippies in California what to do. Not gonna happen.
Did they really have the authority to do that?
Well, the Missouri Compromise also left this key question unanswered.
And as we all know from our training in standardized tests, even if we
don't know the answer, sometimes it's best to try and bubble in something.
We usually go for answer B.