Academic journal article The Arkansas Historical Quarterly

The Missouri Compromise and Its Aftermath: Slavery and the Meaning of America

Academic journal article The Arkansas Historical Quarterly

The Missouri Compromise and Its Aftermath: Slavery and the Meaning of America

Article excerpt

The Missouri Compromise and Its Aftermath: Slavery and the Meaning of America. By Robert Pierce Forbes. (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2007. Pp. vi, 369. Introduction, epilogue, acknowledgments, index. $34.95.)

Arkansas Territory was born in the midst of congressional debates over Missouri, which Robert Pierce Forbes contends was the most important sectional crisis before the Civil War. In the wake of the War of 1812, the United States experienced a profound sense of nationalism. But within a few years, the nation was dividing into factions over the expansion of slavery into Missouri. Although the 1820 compromise seemingly healed the breach, sectional rivals had sorted themselves into two camps: those wishing to restrict the expansion of slavery in the West and those who did not. Both sides convinced themselves that they had won the battle of Missouri.

Throughout his analysis of the debates and passage of the Missouri Compromise, Forbes emphasizes the subtle, yet very important, actions of President James Monroe. He insists that Monroe used his political connections to create an antirestrictionist coalition to placate his home state of Virginia, while at the same time convincing restrictionists that the Missouri Compromise served the antislavery cause. Forbes lacks definitive proof of this, but there is enough evidence to suggest he is correct, and that, as the author notes, "a thorough reevaluation" of the Monroe administration is needed (pp. 124-125). Unlike earlier scholars who either overlooked or downplayed Monroe's part in the compromise, Forbes argues that although Monroe appeared uninvolved to the public, he was extremely active behind closed doors in creating an antirestrictionist coalition.

The formation of these restrictionist and antirestrictionist coalitions resulted in the development of political factions. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.