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Slavery and Politics in the Early American Republic$
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Matthew Mason

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780807830499

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: September 2014

DOI: 10.5149/9780807876633_mason

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Commencement Exercises: The Missouri Crisis

Commencement Exercises: The Missouri Crisis

(p.177) 8 Commencement Exercises: The Missouri Crisis
Slavery and Politics in the Early American Republic

Matthew Mason

University of North Carolina Press

This chapter examines the Missouri debates of 1819–1821 and their impact on American politics. It shows how the Missouri Crisis, which pitted the pro-slavery and anti-slavery factions in Congress, exposed and exacerbated sectional tensions between North and South and prompted moderates to revive the tactics they had employed in previous controversies. The chapter charts the origins of the crisis, which began when Missouri's application for admission to the Union as a slave state in February 1819 was rejected by Northerners who wanted to maintain a balance between free and slave states in the Senate. It also discusses the controversial amendment to the statehood bill proposed by Congressman James Tallmadge of New York, the first Missouri Compromise authorizing Missouri to come in without a restriction on slavery but also admitting the free state of Maine, and the debate over the acceptability of the Missouri state constitution's exclusion of free blacks.

Keywords:   Missouri Crisis, Congress, North, South, Missouri, Missouri Compromise, slavery, Maine, free blacks

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