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Missouri Compromise

Missouri Compromise

Within American history, the events leading up to the Civil War tell an interesting story of the mindset of Northerners and Southerners at the time.  One of the most fascinating questions to discuss is why the issue of admitting Missouri to the Union precipitated a major national crisis and why the North and the South each agreed to the terms of the Missouri Compromise.  First, the matter of admitting Missouri to the Union and the major national crisis it stirred.

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At the time that Missouri was seeking statehood, the number of free and slave states was equally split, and the admission of Missouri as a slave state would tip Congressional advantage in terms of the states toward those that were pro-slavery (Phillips, 2002).  This issue threatened to divide the nation in a radical and violent way, but ultimately, this would not happen for nearly 40 more years and the onset of the Civil War.  This was averted when the North and South each agreed to the terms of the Missouri Compromise, based on the concession that Missouri made when the soon-to-be state agreed not to violate the federal Constitutional rights of any of its citizens in its state constitution.  While the issue of slavery would eventually come to a boil, the Missouri Compromise held the peace for a time.


Phillips, C. (2002). “The Crime against Missouri”: Slavery, Kansas, and the Cant of Southerners in the Border West. Civil War History, 48(1), 60+.

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