Describe the sectional divisions that led to the Missouri compromise.  Explain how those issues were settled.

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boomer-sooner eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The Missouri Compromise of 1820 accomplished three things.  It recognized Missouri as a slave state, recognized Maine as a free state and established a divide in the northern part of the Louisiana Territory prohibiting slavery.  The divisions leading to this compromise revolved around the power of Congress should Missouri be added to the Union as a slave state.  Prior to the debates on accepting Missouri as a state, the nation was evenly split with eleven slave and eleven non-slave states.  Anti-slavery representatives were worried Congress would set a dangerous precedence by allowing Missouri to enter as a slave state and upset the balance.  There was fear it may be used later as an indication Congress supported slavery as a whole.  To avoid a long drawn out confrontation, the Compromise was reached bringing in Maine and keeping the delicate balance.  Also, Congress separated the Louisiana Territory to derail any similar fights in the future.  Ultimately the Compromise was repealed by the Kansas-Nebraska Act (1854).  The Dred Scott decision in 1857 by the US Supreme Court ruled Congress could not limit the popular sovereignty of any state therefore preventing any similar compromises.

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