Missouri Compromise of 1820
Divide Between Slave and Free States
Missouri Compromise Act of 1820 History
[The Missouri Compromise was legislation that concurrently admitted
Missouri as a slave state and Maine as a non-slave state, so as not to upset the balance between slave and free states in
the nation. It also outlawed slavery above the 36º 30´ latitude line in the remainder of the Louisiana Territory. It was repealed by the Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854.]
|Missouri Compromise Map
|(Missouri Compromise 1820 Map)
An Act to authorize the people of the Missouri territory to form a constitution
and state government, and for the admission of such state into the Union on an equal footing with the original states, and
to prohibit slavery in certain territories.
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States
of America, in Congress assembled, That the inhabitants of that portion of the Missouri territory included within the boundaries
herein after designated, be, and they are hereby, authorized to form for themselves a constitution and state government, and
to assume such name as they shall deem proper; and the said state, when formed, shall be admitted into the Union, upon an
equal footing with the original states, in all respects whatsoever.
SEC.2. And be it further enacted, That the said state shall consist of all
the territory included within the following boundaries, to wit: Beginning in the middle of the Mississippi river, on the parallel
of thirty-six degrees of north latitude; thence west, along that parallel of latitude, to the St. Francois river; thence up,
and following the course of that river, in the middle of the main channel thereof, to the parallel of latitude of thirty-six
degrees and thirty minutes; thence west, along the same, to a point where the said parallel is intersected by a meridian line
passing through the middle of the mouth of the Kansas river, where the same empties into the Missouri river, thence, from
the point aforesaid north, along the said meridian line, to the intersection of the parallel of latitude which passes through
the rapids of the river Des Moines, making the said line to correspond with the Indian boundary line; thence east, from the
point of intersection last aforesaid, along the said parallel of latitude, to the middle of the channel of the main fork of
the said river Des Moines ; thence down arid along the middle of the main channel of the said river Des Moines, to the mouth
of the same, where it empties into the Mississippi river; thence, due east, to the middle of the main channel of the Mississippi
river; thence down, and following the course of the Mississippi river, in the middle of the main channel thereof, to the place
of beginning : Provided, The said state shall ratify the boundaries aforesaid . And provided also, That the said state shall
have concurrent jurisdiction on the river Mississippi, and every other river bordering on the said state so far as the said
rivers shall form a common boundary to the said state; and any other state or states, now or hereafter to be formed and bounded
by the same, such rivers to be common to both; and that the river Mississippi, and the navigable rivers and waters leading
into the same, shall be common highways, and for ever free, as well to the inhabitants of the said state as to other citizens
of the United States, without any tax, duty impost, or toll, therefor, imposed by the said state.
SEC. 3. And be it further enacted, That all free white male citizens of the
United States, who shall have arrived at the age of twenty-one years, and have resided in said territory: three months previous
to the day of election, and all other persons qualified to vote for representatives to the general assembly of the said territory,
shall be qualified to be elected and they are hereby qualified and authorized to vote, and choose representatives to form
a convention, who shall be apportioned amongst the several counties as follows :
From the county of Howard, five representatives.
From the county of Cooper, three representatives. From the county of Montgomery, two representatives. From the county of Pike,
one representative. From the county of Lincoln, one representative. From the county of St. Charles, three representatives.
From the county of Franklin, one representative. From the county of St. Louis, eight representatives. From the county of Jefferson,
one representative. From the county of Washington, three representatives. From the county of St. Genevieve, four representatives.
From the county of Madison, one representative. From the county of Cape Girardeau, five representatives. From the county of
New Madrid, two representatives. From the county of Wayne, and that portion of the county of Lawrence which falls within the
boundaries herein designated, one representative.
And the election for the representatives aforesaid shall be holden on the
first Monday, and two succeeding days of May next, throughout the several counties aforesaid in the said territory, and shall
be, in every respect, held and conducted in the same manner, and under the same regulations as is prescribed by the laws of
the said territory regulating elections therein for members of the general assembly, except that the returns of the election
in that portion of Lawrence county included in the boundaries aforesaid, shall be made to the county of Wayne, as is provided
in other cases under the laws of said territory.
SEC. 4. And be it further enacted, That the members of the convention thus
duly elected, shall be, and they are hereby authorized to meet at the seat of government of said territory on the second Monday
of the month of June next; and the said convention, when so assembled, shall have power and authority to adjourn to any other
place in the said territory, which to them shall seem best for the convenient transaction of their business; and which convention,
when so met, shall first determine by a majority of the whole number elected, whether it be, or be not, expedient at that
time to form a constitution and state government for the people within the said territory, as included within the boundaries
above designated; and if it be deemed expedient, the convention shall be, and hereby is, authorized to form a constitution
and state government; or, if it be deemed more expedient, the said convention shall provide by ordinance for electing representatives
to form a constitution or frame of government; which said representatives shall be chosen in such manner, and in such proportion
as they shall designate; and shall meet at such time and place as shall be prescribed by the said ordinance; and shall then
form for the people of said territory, within the boundaries aforesaid, a constitution and state government: Provided, That
the same, whenever formed, shall be republican, and not repugnant to the constitution of the United States; and that the legislature
of said state shall never interfere with the primary disposal of the soil by the United States, nor with any regulations Congress
may find necessary for securing the title in such soil to the bona fide purchasers ; and that no tax shall be imposed on lands
the property of the United States ; and in no case shall non-resident proprietors be taxed higher than residents.
SEC. 5. And be it further enacted, That until the next general census shall
be taken, the said state shall be entitled to one representative in the House of Representatives of the United States.
SEC. 6. And be it further enacted, That the following propositions be, and
the same are hereby, offered to the convention of the said territory of Missouri, when formed, for their free acceptance or
rejection, which, if accepted by the convention, shall be obligatory upon the United States:
First. That section numbered
sixteen in every township, and when such section has been sold, or otherwise disposed of, other lands equivalent thereto,
and as contiguous as may be, shall be granted to the state for the use of the inhabitants of such township, for the use of
Second. That all salt springs, not exceeding twelve in number, with six sections of land adjoining to each, shall
be granted to the said state for the use of said state, the same to be selected by the legislature of the said state, on or
before the first day of January, in the year one thousand eight hundred and twenty-five ; and the same, when so selected,
to be used under such terms, conditions, and regulations, as the legislature of said state shall direct: Provided, That no
salt spring, the right whereof now is, or hereafter shall be, confirmed or adjudged to any individual or individuals, shall,
by this section, be granted to the said state: And provided also, That the legislature shall never sell or lease the same,
at anyone time, for a longer period than ten years, without the consent of Congress.
Third. That five percent. of the net
proceeds of the sale of lands lying within the said territory or state, and which shall be sold by Congress, from and after
the first day of January next, after deducting all expenses incident to the same, shall be reserved for making public roads
and canals, of which three fifths shall be applied to those objects within the state, under the direction of the legislature
thereof; and the other two fifths in defraying, under the direction of Congress, the expenses to be incurred in making of
a road or roads, canal or canals, leading to the said state.
Fourth. That four entire sections of land be, and the same
are hereby, granted to the said state, for the purpose of fixing their seat of government thereon; which said sections shall,
under the direction of the legislature of said state, be located, as near as may be, in one body, at any time, in such townships
and ranges as the legislature aforesaid may select, on any of the public lands of the United States: Provided, That such locations
shall be made prior to the public sale of the lands of the United States surrounding such location.
Fifth. That thirty-six
sections, or one entire township, which shall be designated by the President of the United States, together with the other
lands heretofore reserved for that purpose, shall be reserved for the use of a seminary of learning, and vested in the legislature
of said state, to be appropriated solely to the use of such seminary by the said legislature: Provided, That the five foregoing
propositions herein offered, are on the condition that the convention of the said state shall provide, by an ordinance, irrevocable
without the consent or the United States, that every and each tract of land sold by the United States, from and after the
first day of January next, shall remain exempt from any tax laid by order or under the authority of the state, whether for
state, county, or township, or any other purpose whatever, for the term of five years from and after the day of sale; And
further, That the bounty lands granted, or hereafter to be granted, for military services during the late war, shall, while
they continue to be held by the patentees, or their heirs remain exempt as aforesaid from taxation for the term of three year;
from and after the date of the patents respectively.
SEC. 7. And be it further enacted, That in case a constitution and state government
shall be formed for the people of the said territory of Missouri, the said convention or representatives, as soon thereafter
as may be, shall cause a true and attested copy of such constitution or frame of state government, as shall be formed or provided,
to be transmitted to Congress.
SEC. 8. And be it further enacted. That in all that territory ceded by France
to the United States, under the name of Louisiana, which lies north of thirty-six degrees and thirty minutes north latitude,
not included within the limits of the state, contemplated by this act, slavery and involuntary servitude, otherwise than in
the punishment of crimes, whereof the parties shall have been duly convicted, shall be, and is hereby, forever prohibited:
Provided always, That any person escaping into the same, from whom labour or service is lawfully claimed, in any state or
territory of the United States, such fugitive may be lawfully reclaimed and conveyed to the person claiming his or her labour
or service as aforesaid.
APPROVED, March 6, 1820.
Recommended Reading: The Missouri Compromise and Its Aftermath: Slavery and the Meaning of America (Hardcover). Description: Robert Pierce Forbes goes behind the scenes of the crucial Missouri Compromise, the
most important sectional crisis before the Civil War, to reveal the high-level deal-making, diplomacy, and deception that
defused the crisis, including the central, unexpected role of President James Monroe. Although Missouri was allowed to join the union with slavery, Forbes observes, the compromise in
fact closed off nearly all remaining federal territory to slavery. Forbes's analysis reveals a surprising national consensus
against slavery a generation before the Civil War, which was fractured by the controversy over Missouri.
Recommended Reading: A House Divided: Sectionalism and Civil War, 1848-1865 (The American Moment). Reviews: "The best short treatment of the sectional conflict and Civil War
available... Sewell convincingly demonstrates that the conflict was a revolutionary experience that fundamentally transformed
the Republic and its people, and left a racial heritage that still confronts America
today. The result is a poignant discussion of the central tragedy of American history and its legacy for the nation." -- William
E. Gienapp, Georgia Historical Quarterly.
"A provocative starting point for discussion, further study, and independent assessment." -- William H. Pease, History. "Sewell's
style is fast moving and very readable... An excellent volume summarizing the stormy period prior to the war as well as a
look at the military and home fronts." -- Civil War Book Exchange and Collector's Newsletter. Continued below…
traditional, and brief narrative of the period from the end of the Mexican War to the conclusion of the Civil War... Shows
the value of traditional political history which is too often ignored in our rush to reconstruct the social texture of society."
-- Thomas D. Morris, Civil War History. "Tailored for adoption in college courses. Students will find that the author has
a keen eye for vivid quotations, giving his prose welcome immediacy." -- Daniel W. Crofts, Journal of Southern History.
Recommended Reading: Slavery and Politics in the Early American Republic.
Description: Giving close consideration to previously
neglected debates, Matthew Mason challenges the common contention that slavery held little political significance in America until the Missouri Crisis. Mason demonstrates
that slavery and politics were enmeshed in the creation of the nation, and in fact there was never a time between the Revolution
and the Civil War in which slavery went uncontested. Continued below...
Revolution set in motion the split between slave states and free states, but Mason explains that the divide took on
greater importance in the early nineteenth century. He examines the partisan and geopolitical uses of slavery, the conflicts
between free states and their slaveholding neighbors, and
the political impact of African Americans across the country. Offering a full picture of the politics of slavery in the crucial
years of the early republic, Mason demonstrates that partisans and patriots, slave and free—and not just abolitionists
and advocates of slavery—should be considered important players in the politics of slavery in the United States.
The Radical and the Republican: Frederick
Douglass, Abraham Lincoln, and the Triumph of Antislavery Politics. Publishers Weekly: The perennial tension between
principle and pragmatism in politics frames this engaging account of two Civil War Era icons. Historian Oakes (Slavery and
Freedom) charts the course by which Douglass and Lincoln, initially far apart on the antislavery spectrum, gravitated toward
each other. Lincoln began as a moderate who advocated banning slavery in the territories while tolerating it in the South,
rejected social equality for blacks and wanted to send freedmen overseas—and wound up abolishing slavery outright and
increasingly supporting black voting rights. Conversely, the abolitionist firebrand Douglass moved from an impatient, self-marginalizing
moral rectitude to a recognition of compromise, coalition building and incremental goals as necessary steps forward in a democracy.
views on race were essentially modern; the book is really a study through his eyes of the more complex figure of Lincoln.
Oakes lucidly explores how political realities and military necessity influenced Lincoln's
tortuous path to emancipation, and asks whether his often bigoted pronouncements represented real conviction or strategic
concessions to white racism. As Douglass shifts from denouncing Lincoln's foot-dragging to
revering his achievements, Oakes vividly conveys both the immense distance America
traveled to arrive at a more enlightened place and the fraught politics that brought it there. AWARDED FIVE STARS by americancivilwarhistory.org
Recommended Reading: What Hath God Wrought: The Transformation of America,
1815-1848 (Oxford History of the United States)
(Hardcover: 928 pages). Review: The newest volume in
the renowned Oxford History of the United States-- A brilliant portrait of an era that saw dramatic transformations in American
life The Oxford History of the United States
is by far the most respected multi-volume history of our nation. The series includes two Pulitzer Prize winners, two New York
Times bestsellers, and winners of the Bancroft and Parkman Prizes. Now, in What Hath God Wrought, historian Daniel Walker
Howe illuminates the period from the battle of New Orleans to the end of the Mexican-American
War, an era when the United States expanded
to the Pacific and won control over the richest part of the North American continent. Continued below…
narrative portrays revolutionary improvements in transportation and communications that accelerated the extension of the American
empire. Railroads, canals, newspapers, and the telegraph dramatically lowered travel times and spurred the spread of information.
These innovations prompted the emergence of mass political parties and stimulated America's economic development from
an overwhelmingly rural country to a diversified economy in which commerce and industry took their place alongside agriculture.
In his story, the author weaves together political and military events with social, economic, and cultural history. He examines
the rise of Andrew Jackson and his Democratic party, but contends that John Quincy Adams and other Whigs--advocates of public
education and economic integration, defenders of the rights of Indians, women, and African-Americans--were the true prophets
of America's future. He reveals the power
of religion to shape many aspects of American life during this period, including slavery and antislavery, women's rights and
other reform movements, politics, education, and literature. Howe's story of American expansion -- Manifest Destiny -- culminates
in the bitterly controversial but brilliantly executed war waged against Mexico
to gain California and Texas for the United States. By 1848, America
had been transformed. What Hath God Wrought provides a monumental narrative of this formative period in United States history.
Recommended Reading: Arguing about Slavery: John Quincy Adams and the Great Battle
in the United States Congress.
Description: In the 1830s, slavery was so deeply entrenched
that it could not even be discussed in Congress, which had enacted a "gag rule" to ensure that anti-slavery petitions would
be summarily rejected. This stirring book chronicles the parliamentary battle to bring "the peculiar institution" into the
national debate, a battle that some historians have called "the Pearl Harbor of the slavery
controversy." Continued below...
The campaign to make slavery officially and respectably debatable was waged by John Quincy Adams who spent
nine years defying gags, accusations of treason, and assassination threats. In the end he made his case through a combination
of cunning and sheer endurance. Telling this story with a brilliant command of detail, Arguing About Slavery endows history
with majestic sweep, heroism, and moral weight.