AP US History

The Missouri Compromise was passed in 1820 during the Monroe presidency which regulated slavery, it prohibited slavery in the former Louisiana territory and north of the latitude line 36 degrees and 30 minutes, except within the proposed boundaries of the state of Missouri where slavery would be legal. The compromise also included the fact that Maine would be admitted as a free state.The Tallmadge Amendment was a proposed to amend the Missouri Compromise which would impose conditions in the state that would extinguish slavery in the star within the next generation. The amendment was proposed by James Tallmadge Jr, a Democratic-Republican in New York who was strongly opposed to slavery. The amendment was rejected in the final draft, and the Missouri Compromise was passed without the amendment. The compromise of 1850 was passed 30 years later was a package of five separate bills which diffused the commotion that was caused by the issue of wether the land acquired after the Mexican American War should be free or slavery states.

The picture below shows the 36*30' degree latitude line which was established during the Missouri Compromise. All new states which lay north of the line were established as "free states" which meant that slavery was not legal in these states. Those states which were south of this line were to be the "slave states" meaning that slavery was legal in these states. Of course the twist on this was the new state of Missouri of which the compromise was based on. Missouri was to be allowed as a slave state in order to strike a compromise between the two factions.


This document is a letter which was written by Thomas Jefferson to his friend John Holmes on April 22, 1820. Jefferson explained that he had been keeping out of politics and this issue was brought to his attention by a copy that Holmes had sent him. The letter outlined his opinion on the topic of Missouri, he believed it should be up to the states to make this determination. He most notably quoted that "the like a fire bell in the night, awakened and filled me with terror. I considered it at once as the knell of the Union."

IN THE END: The Missouri Compromise was later  in repealed by the Kansas-Nebraska Act in 1854. Three years later the Missouri Compromise was declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court in the Dred Scott decision, which ruled that Congress did not have the authority to prohibit slavery in the territories. This was under the Taney court because Chief Justice was Roger B. Taney.

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