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The Missouri Compromise


In 1818, the Territory of Missouri submitted application to the United States for statehood. At this time, there were an equal number of senators (22) in the United States Senate from both free and slave states. Slavery was legal in the Territory of Missouri—with more than 10,000 slaves living in the region—and the admission of Missouri into the Union would upset the balance in the Senate.

Shortly after the Territory of Missouri's application for statehood, Maine also applied for admission to the Union. This allowed the Missouri Compromise to become possible, as Missouri and Maine could then be accepted without upsetting the Senate's balance between free and slave states. The compromise admitted Maine as a free state and authorized Missouri to form a state constitution, which would allow slavery in the newly formed state.

The slave question in Missouri would later become a cause of persecution for the Latter-day Saints. A majority of the LDS people that migrated to Missouri were easterners and non-slaveholders. Because the Latter-day Saints held no slaves, Missourians viewed them as an abolitionist threat.

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