The Missouri Compromise was a law designed to resolve whether the new state of Missouri would enter the United States as a free state or a slave state. A free state is one in which slavery is prohibited, and a slave state is one in which slavery is legal. At the time Missouri was going to enter the Union, the nation had an equal number of free and slave states. Northern states wanted Missouri to be a free state so they would have a majority in Congress. Southern states, for the same reason, wanted Missouri to be a slave state.
Senator Henry Clay promoted the Missouri Compromise, which Congress passed in 1820. The compromise was that Missouri entered the union as a slave state, and at the same time, Maine entered the union as a free state. As part of the compromise, Congress created an imaginary line at Missouri’s southern border. Congress said that any future new states north of that line would be free states. The conflict between allowing or prohibiting slavery in new states grew stronger in the following years. It became a big part of the sectionalism that caused the Civil War.
A map of the Missouri Compromise, 1820. A line drawn at 36 degrees, 30 minutes north latitude was established as the dividing line between free and slave territory in the remainder of the Louisiana Purchase.
Prior to the Missouri Compromise, how many states were "free" and how many were "slave"?
A There were more free states than slave states
B There were more slave states than free states
C The number of slave states and free states were equal (11-11)
What other territory was directly involved in the Missouri Compromise?
Who proposed the Missouri Compromise?
How did the Missouri Compromise contibute to the Civil War?
What is the significance of the southern border of Missouri?
Watch the video below to summarize the Missouri Compromise
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