Rise of the New West, 1819-1829

By Frederick Jackson Turner | Go to book overview

CHAPTER X
THE MISSOURI COMPROMISE (1819-1921)

IN the dark period of the commercial crisis of 1819, while Congress was considering the admission of Missouri, the slavery issue flamed out, and revealed with startling distinctness the political significance of the institution, fateful and ominous for the nation, transcending in importance the temporary financial and industrial ills.

The advance of settlement in the United States made the slavery contest a struggle for power between sections, marching in parallel columns into the west, each carrying its own system of labor.1 By 1819 the various states of the north, under favorable conditions of climate and industrial life, had either completely extinguished slavery or were in the process of emancipation;2 and by the Ordinance of 1787 the old Congress had excluded the institution in the territory north of the Ohio River. Thus Mason and Dixon's line and the Ohio made a boundary between the slave-holding and the free streams of population

____________________
1
For previous questions of slavery, see Channing, Jeffersonian System (Am. Nation, XII.), chap. viii.
2
See map, p. 6.

-149-

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