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Missouri Compromise for Kids


This page describes the Missouri Compromise, one of the first causes of the Civil War


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Causes of the Civil War

Missouri Compromise
Nat Turner Rebellion
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Missouri Compromise

Missouri Compromise Map


Missouri Compromise Activities on

Missouri Compromise Complete Lesson Plan – This is a complete one-hour lesson plan for teaching the Missouri Compromise. It includes background information, suggestions for discussion, important vocbulary and connections, the maps labeled below (with answer sheet), and the informational text sheet.
Missouri Compromise America in 1820 Label-me Map – This activity requires students to label the states and territoriesa s they were in 1820.
Missouri Compromise America in 1820 Illustrated Map – This is a beautiful graphical map of American in 1820. Perfect for interactive notebooks.

In 1819, as Missouri began drafting a state constitution in preparation for statehood, New York congressman James Tallmadge introduced two antislavery amendments to the bill which allowed for the creation of Missouri as a state. Despite the fact that Tallmadge’s bills were not passed, the issue involving slavery threatened to explode.

The issue of slavery had remained controversial in America since 1787. In 1819, half of America’s twenty two states were free states (northern), and half were slave states (southern). Because the free states had larger populations, they controlled the House of Representatives. Free and slave states shared equal representation in the Senate. The admission of Missouri as a free state or slave state would upset the balance. Antislavery members of Congress argued that slavery should be prohibited in new states, while Pro-slavery members of Congress argued that the state should have the right to determine if slavery was legal or illegal within its borders.

A compromise was made when Maine applied for statehood in 1820. According to the deal thought of by Henry Clay, if the southern states agreed to the admission of Maine as a free state, Missouri would be admitted as a slave state. In addition, all lands acquired in the Louisiana Purchase north of 36° 30′ N latitude would be free. Both the free and the slave states agreed to Clay’s compromise. Nevertheless, the influence of the Missouri Compromise would last nearly thirty years before it would be repealed.