What Agreement Did Congress Come To In The Missouri Compromise

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Many members of Congress remained shaken by the controversy. Once again, slavery had proved to be a subject that divided the nation in stages. The countries of the South had been put on the defensive to justify their “peculiar institution”, the countries of the North had smoked that “slavery” was trying to conquer the whole country, and abolitionists like the mp arthur Livermore of New Hampshire wondered “how long the desire for wealth will blind us to the sin of stopping… our chained fellows?¬†At the time, the Missouri compromise was seen as a critical agreement to maintain the balance of power in Congress between slaves and free states and to keep the Union intact. Although slavery has been a divisive issue for decades in the United States, antagonism has never been more exuberant and threatening than in the Missouri crisis. Thomas Jefferson described the fear it aroused as “like a fire bell in the night.” Although the compromise measures seemed to resolve the issue of the extension of slavery, John Quincy Adams stated in his diary: “Take for granted that the present is only a preamble – a cover of great tragic volume.” The section conflict would escalate into the Civil War after the Missouri compromise was repealed by the Kansas-Nebraska Act (1854) and ruled unconstitutional in the Dred Scott decision of 1857. Slavery had already crept into the Northwest Territory (the area between the Ohio River and the Great Lakes), although the Northwest Ordinance of 1787 prohibited slavery there. The southerners who immigrated to this region took their slaves under the guise of immigrant servitude, which was legal in the region. The countries of the North, most of which preferred “free states” where slavery was prohibited, feared that slavery would be found de facto in states carved from the Northwest Territory. The welcome of Missouri, originating from louisiana-acquired countries outside the Old Northwest, contributed to their fears about the spread of slavery.

On February 13, 1819, New York Congressman Jame Tallmadge proposed two amendments to the Missouri Government Act. The first banned any new importation of slaves into Missouri; the second required progressive emancipation for the slaves who were already there. The House of Representatives passed its amendments along strictly regional voting lines, but the Senate, where the representation of free and slave states was balanced, rejected them. Congressional debates on the issue raged for a year, until the district of Maine, which was part of Massachusetts, sought the state. Henry Clay of Kentucky, the House of Representatives spokesman, said that if Maine were allowed, Missouri should be too. From this came the idea that states are welcomed in pairs, a slave and a freer one.