THE MISSOURI COMPROMISES, meant like so many other compacts before and after them to put the issue of slavery to rest, failed to do so. It was clear that this would be the case even as Congress hammered them out. Many Northerners conceded defeat in the battle but not the war after restriction in Missouri was lost, vowing to work even harder against slavery in the future.1 From the South came the observation in August 1821 that “the Missouri question is settled, but the excitement is not allayed.”2 Far from ending the struggle over slavery in the United States, the Missouri Compromises set the stage for a new phase ofthat contest that would lead to civil war. Missouri and other antebellum conflicts pushed many Americans in new directions, creating more extremists on both sides. Yet old antipathies still resonated, and old ideas and tactics persisted. Both Northerners and Southerners had found some early national arguments and tools wanting, but they found more of them useful even in their changed circumstances.
The Missouri imbroglio cast a long shadow over American politics, threatening to turn national questions into sectional ones. Presidential politics was an especially prominent arena that contestants turned even more overtly sectional in Missouri's wake. In October 1820, a Pennsylvania restrictionist made a lastsecond plea not to reelect Monroe. He queried whether the president “of a free people” should be one “who, in addition to the act of holding his fellow creatures in bondage, enforces, with all his official influence, the pernicious doctrine of the extension of Slavery.”3 The 1820 election came too soon after Missouri's first round for disaffected Northerners to organize opposition to Monroe, but they quickly turned their attention to 1824 as their chance to elect a president from the free states. Meanwhile, Southerners backed self-consciously pro