Missourians could hardly have made a more appropriate decision than to name their capital after Thomas Jefferson. A meeting place of major rivers, Missouri became a gateway to the beckoning West opened up to Americans by Jefferson's Louisiana Purchase. In the era of overland traders and steamboat pilots, of Thomas Hart Benton and Mark Twain, life in Missouri was strongly flavored by the Jeffersonian spiritexpressed in a suspicion of large cities, a belief that mankind flourished best in a rural setting, a faith in the free individual as the guardian of liberty, and a steady insistence that the powers granted to government must be limited. Missouri is still profoundly shaped by its cherished Jeffersonian legacy, Nagel argues. St. Louis and Kansas City, major metropolitan areas on the east and the west, vie for power with the state's rural areas in a continuing struggle between city and country First published in 1977 as part of the Norton bicentennial series on The States and the Nation, a project of the American Association for State and Local History, Missouri appears now for the first time in paperback.