The Consequences Of The Missouri Compromise Of 1850

Submitted By hanae34
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When the Constitution was drafted slavery was not discussed for the fears that discussing such a matter would destroy the country before it even began. Nevertheless, thirty-three years after the adoption of the document that replaced the weaker Articles of Confederation, Congress would begin a series of epic legal battles to restrict slavery. However, little did they know that by seeking this ideal that they would contribute to splitting the Union that the founding fathers predicted. It was very clear that those that opposed slavery had discovered the evils of bonding a man or woman as property; however, one may argue the true intentions of the legal and moral battles that were fought. Although the intentions of those opposed to slavery were good, one cannot help but question the other possible motives behind the moral debates and political consequences of the Missouri Compromise and Compromise of 1850.
After the purchase of a large portion of land known as the Louisiana Purchase by Thomas Jefferson from France under Napoleon Bonaparte's rule in 1803, America had much land to divide into territories and eventually states. New England quickly noticed the potential that Southern states had to set up slave states throughout the purchase. To make matters worse, Missouri was attempting to join the Union as a slave state and this would throw off the delicate balance of power that existed in the senate at the time. The Great Compromiser, Henry Clay, promised the Missouri Compromise, also known as the Compromise of 1820 to help keep turmoil at a low. One of the vital agreements in the compromise was that Missouri be allowed to join as a slave state if Maine was allowed to join as a free state. In reality, the probability of Maine ever being a slave state was very low, since the area that is present day Maine had a fishing industry. One may believe that this portion of the compromise, though said labeled free state or slave state did not really effect slavery since the spread of the practice would not make it to Maine anyway. Also, another key point in the compromise was that slavery could not take place in the Louisiana Purchase north of the 36 degree 30 minute line, the Southern Missouri border. This allowed New England to keep the balance of power in its favor in the future. In retrospect, the Missouri Compromise could be accessed as only being about power rather than ridding the nation of the evils of slavery.

Although the Missouri Compromise seemed to solve the problems facing the Union in 1820, thirty years later in 1850 the nation was at the brink of political bloodshed again. After the Mexican War in 1847, Mexico ceded several territories to the United States allowing for another dispute to take place between the raising sectionalism.