Missouri Compromise Day is observed on March 3 each year and was established on this day in 1820 when the Missouri Compromise was approved by Congress. The Missouri Compromise was a law that kept a balance in the Senate between free states and slave states. This new piece of legislation was passed by the 16th United States Congress on March 3, 1820, and signed by President James Monroe on March 6 of the same year. Free states were the ones in which slavery had been abolished and slave states were those where slavery continued to be in practice. The Missouri Compromise, however, only lasted for 34 years. The end of this Compromise came to be as a result of the U.S. Civil War.
History of Missouri Compromise Day
The Missouri matter was brought into the discussion at the 15th Congress in 1819. The discussion ended in a stalemate, with the House taking an anti-slavery stance and the Senate taking a pro-slavery stance.
In 1820, amid the rising tensions over the issue of slavery, the U.S. Congress passed a law that proclaimed the state of Missouri to the Union as a slave state and Maine as a free state. The law banned slavery from the other Louisiana Purchase lands that were located north of the 36º 30’ parallel.
The Missouri Compromise was the name of this law. This law stayed in force for 34 years before it was repealed by the Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854. In 1854, during the formation of Kansas and Nebraska Territories, Senator Stephen Douglas of Illinois proposed the Kansas-Nebraska Act, which stated that the settlers of each territory should decide on the issue of slavery for themselves. This was the principle of popular sovereignty. The controversial law effectively repealed the Missouri Compromise by allowing slavery in the region north of the 36º 30’ parallel. This sparked violence between the pro and anti-slavery settlers. The opposition to this Act led to the formation of the Republican Party, and the emergence of Douglas’s rival, a previously unknown lawyer named Abraham Lincoln.
In 1857, the Supreme Court ruled the Missouri compromise as unconstitutional in the Dred Scott case. These tensions led to the rise of the American Civil War, which people believed would either tear the union apart or lead to the formation of a new one.
Missouri Compromise Day timeline
The Missouri matter is brought into the discussion at the 15th Congress and the conversation ends in a stalemate.
This law is passed by Congress and proclaims Missouri as a slave state and Maine as a free state.
Senator Stephen Douglas of Illinois repeals the Missouri Compromise and states that the settlers of each territory should decide the issue of slavery for themselves.
The Supreme Court rules the Missouri Compromise to be unconstitutional in the Dred Scott case, leading to the start of the American Civil War.
Missouri Compromise Day FAQs
Why was the Missouri Compromise so important?
It maintained a delicate balance between free and slave states.
How did the Missouri Compromise create tension?
When Missouri requested admission to the union as a slave state, the balance between free and slave states was threatened, and this led to tension.
Why did the Missouri Compromise fail?
The Missouri Compromise failed because it led to an increase in sectionalism between the northern and southern states.
How To Observe Missouri Compromise Day
Read, read, read
When in doubt, read. Reading will give you more knowledge and insight into this day and the history of slavery in America.
Visit a history museum
Museums are sources of history that have been kept preserved for us over the years. Head to your nearest history museum to learn about your state’s stance on slavery.
Take a quiz
If you think you already know everything about U.S. history then take a quiz to prove it! Make sure to find a partner to face off against.
5 Facts About The Missouri Compromise
The Missouri Compromise was planned by Henry Clay
Clay, a senator from Kentucky, was the one to devise the Missouri Compromise.
Tension between free and slave states
Before the Missouri Compromise was passed, there was a lot of tension between the slave states and the free states in the U.S.
The Missouri Compromise Line was born
The invisible line that divided America into slave states in the South and free states in the North was called the Missouri Compromise Line.
Missouri and Maine gained official state status
In 1821, Missouri and Maine became the 23rd and 24tth official states.
The 14th Amendment abolished slavery
Passed in 1865, after the end of the Civil War, this amendment helped abolish slavery in the U.S. once and for all.
Why Missouri Compromise Day is Important
We learn about our history
The Missouri Compromise is important because it reminds us of our journey to a land of freedom for all. It marks a significant period in our nation’s history.
It honors the contributions of many
Remembering these historical events which went on to help abolish slavery is crucial. This is how we pay tribute to the important work done by others before us.
It gives us insight into politics
As citizens of this country, it is essential to have an understanding of the various historical moments the country went through to be what it is today. It helps us understand politics and the things that motivate people.
Missouri Compromise Day dates