The Missouri Compromise

The Missouri Compromise

by Susan Dudley Gold

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Barbara L. Talcroft
Controversial issues leading to important legislation by the U.S. Congress reflect conflicts, personalities, and ideologies of their times. Cavendish's "Landmark Legislation" series explores for teen readers the plots, characters, and outcomes of these national dramas. One of the most fateful was the Missouri Compromise of 1820. In 1788, writers of the Constitution had managed to avoid action on the issue of slavery in order to keep the new nation intact. Later, as settlers began moving into the territory of the newly acquired Louisiana Purchase, controversy over slavery was revived. By 1818, Missouri applied for admission to the Union as a slave state, alarming slavery's opponents—Missouri's statehood would upset the balance of eleven free and eleven slave states. Author Gold explains clearly the bitter divisions over slavery in a supposedly democratic republic, the intense Congressional debate lasting two years (Southern slaveholders threatened secession), and positions held by orators like Henry Clay and a neutral President James Monroe. In the end, Maine was admitted as a free state, while Missouri was made an exception to legislation banning slavery in the Louisiana Territory above a specified latitude. This compromise put the debate on hold for another thirty years. (Two maps help readers understand the geography.) The rest of the text analyzes what happened after 1850 when California became a free state and how the Missouri Compromise was effectively repealed in 1854, one of the events that led America into the Civil War. A lively feature of this volume is a series of inserts on blue paper examining issues like "Why Not the Women?" and "Life as a Slave," useful to spark class discussion or further research. Gold's endnotes provide adequate documentation; a list of young adult titles directs teens to other books, videos, and websites. Reviewer: Barbara L. Talcroft

Product Details

Cavendish, Marshall Corporation
Publication date:
Landmark Legislation Series
Product dimensions:
6.34(w) x 9.10(h) x 0.52(d)
Age Range:
14 - 17 Years

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