President James Monroe ratified Missouri Compromise

Jessica Jost

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I learned a lot of things in my AP US History class junior year. Most importantly I finally learned what the Missouri Compromise is.
Some of my classmates were amazed I didn’t know what it was until last year, but I had never attended elementary school in Missouri. I went to school in Virginia then, and I learned all about Virginia’s role in the civil war, Jamestown and how we adopted our flag. Seriously, I got tested over that one.
Today in history, the President James Monroe ratified the Missouri Compromise.
When Jefferson made the Louisiana Purchase, he probably never imagined the headaches the new territory would cause the new nation. Settlers went west almost immediately after the purchase, and many brought slaves with them. Once the territories met the requirements for statehood and applied, Congress faced the challenge of maintaining the balance between slave states and free states. This is where the Missouri Compromise comes into play.
When Missouri originally applied to become a state, more than 2,000 slaves lived in the territory. Many Americans assumed it would become a slave state, but New York Representative James Tallmadge had another idea. He proposed banning the importation of slaves and abolishing slavery altogether within Missouri. If that didn’t ruffle the South’s feathers, they were certainly ruffled when Tallmadge’s amendment made it through the House February 1819.
A compromise was reached January 1820, when Maine’s statehood passed through the House. Alabama had been given state status in 1819, and that kept the balance of slave and free states. Maine and Missouri could become states if each was a free and slave state respectively. Henry Clay orchestrated the compromise, which allowed the admittance of the two states as long as slavery wasn’t permitted anyway north of the 36°30’N lat.
 Interestingly enough, the Missouri Compromise was repealed with the passage of the Kansas-Nebraska Act in 1854 and also declared unconstitutional in the Dred Scott Decision of 1857. Despite being repealed within 50 years of its passage, the Missouri Compromise is credited with holding the fragile Union together until the Civil War.
On March 6 Super Tuesday took place, Mass Effect 3 hit stores and the Bridge held Open Mic night. But 192 years ago and 828 miles away, the North and South compromised for the sake of the country.
By Jessica Jost