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missouri compromise

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The forefathers of our country had many ideals on the inherent inalienable rights of man, although this did not hold true for all peoples. Our country practiced slavery of the African. The agricultural economy of the south required the labor of slaves to complete their work. The Northwest Ordinance of 1787 outlawed slavery of the current territory of the United States, but after the purchase of the Louisiana Territory and the settlement to come, the question of slavery was once again forced into the political arena of our country.1 The Missouri Compromise would be an effort to once again silence this issue. The articulate speeches of the 16th congress both north and south showed the strong positions held by each side.
The defense of slavery in the 1790 – 1820 period may be characterized generally as being in a state quiescence, only occasionally roused from a passive condition to become articulate. On the other hand, the idea of slavery in the North was just beginning to become formulated, and many northerners were beginning to see slavery as a threat to their institution of government. Thomas Jefferson, a proponent of the natural rights theory, stated that slavery was a “cruel war against human nature itself violating its most sacred rights of life and liberty in persons of a distant land.”2 While the attitudes of northerners and southerners was not completely one for slavery, and on against, the events of the Missouri debates would bring our country into a new era of a widening schism between North and South with slavery as the main cause.
Never before had the South so vigorously defended slavery against the onslaught of northern offense.
When the bill was first proposed in 1819 the number of free and slave states was equal at 11. When the debate got underway, Taylor and Tallmadge stated the argument strongly for the restricitonists, and Scott, Missouri’s territorial delegate, for the right of unqualified admission. Upon such a controversy, Missouri’s favor was already maintaing slavery in its border and the population warranted statehood. By the compromise of 1787 Missouri would have become a free state because of the majority being North of the Ohio River. Slaveholders, however, were determined to bring slavery into Missouri, and a substantial number of slaveholders settled in Missouri.3 The proponents of the Missouri Bill argued that congress had no right to interfere with the construction of a state constitution except that it be Republican in form.
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