The Missouri Compromise and Sectional Conflict

  1. Political and Economic Groupings

    1. North

      1. Federalist stronghold

      2. Commerce and trade

      3. Creditor region

      4. Feared the Virginia Dynasty

      5. Divided on issue of tariffs and internal improvements

    2. West

      1. More Republican than Federalist

      2. More debtors than creditors

      3. Favored internal improvements and low tariffs

    3. South

      1. More Republican

      2. Favored low tariffs

      3. Split on debtor/creditor lines

  2. John C. Calhoun and the Constitution

    1. South Carolina Senator, one of the War Hawks of 1812

    2. Worried about power of North, especially on high tarrifs

    3. Calhoun's theory of  the nature of Constitutional union

      1. Would provide the basis for much of the South's sectionalism up to Civil War

      2. Theory of union

        1. Sovereignty rested, undivided, in states

        2. Colonies had been founded separately by different groups

        3. Each had become sovereign with Revolution

        4. They had given up a portion of the authority to Federal govt. under Constitution

        5. But they had not given up any political sovereignty

        6. States ultimately had the right to leave the union in the same way they had joined it - voluntarily.

    4. Nullification

      1. Calhoun believed that if Congress passed a law with out getting a concurrent majority, a majority of votes from each section of the country, a state could declare that bill unconstitutional and not enforce it

      2. Only possible if state remain sovereign

      3. Saw it as a safety valve for sectional conflict

  3. Missouri Compromise (1820)

    1. Few settlers across the Mississippi (mostly fur traders)

    2. Missouri applies for statehood, 1818

      1. About 2-3000 slaves in Missouri territory

      2. If comes in as a slave state, would tip the 11-11 balance free vs. slave

    3. North generally wants no slavery in Louisiana Purchase territory

    4. Tallmadge Amendment

      1. Called for end of importation of slaves into Mo. upon becoming state

      2. Would have freed all slaves in Mo. by age 25

      3. Defeated in Senate

    5. Maine petitions for statehood in 1820

    6. Compromise

      1. Maine enters as free, Missouri as slave

      2. But - all Louisiana Territory north of 36'30" latitude would forever be free

      3. About 4/5 of Louisiana Territory

      4. Jefferson called the compromise "a firebell ringing in the night" - a forerunner of serious dispute

    7. The debate

      1. South not yet arguing slavery is a moral good - will in the future

      2. North not yet fully committed to idea that slavery is evil

      3. Not yet a moral question, politically.

      4. When it becomes a moral question politically, compromise will be impossible

  4. Sets stage for sectional debate up to Civil War