I need ideas for alternatives to the Missouri Compromise of 1820 that would have been acceptable to all sides.The immediate ending of slavery is not reasonable, as the South would not have...

I need ideas for alternatives to the Missouri Compromise of 1820 that would have been acceptable to all sides.

The immediate ending of slavery is not reasonable, as the South would not have consented to that.

Asked on by sumore

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pohnpei397's profile pic

pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

This is a very tough question and I'm not sure I have a good answer, but here goes.

I'd like to start by stating the problem.  You have a balance between free and slave states so that means the Senate is equally split so each side can essentially veto any action it doesn't like.  But now Missouri wants to become a state and you have to figure out what to do with it and the rest of the area obtained thru the LA Purchase.

As you say, you can't just ban slavery in the whole Purchase.  Neither can you require that it be allowed.  Neither of those will work.

I suppose you could go with the popular sovereignty idea that ended up in the Kansas-Nebraska Act in '54 -- where you let each new state or territory decide about slavery for themselves.  But that's problematic because no matter what Missouri decides, it upsets the balance.

I suppose you could draw the line somewhere other than 36-30, but that doesn't really change anything all that much.

I think if I had to answer this I'd do it in these steps: lay out the problem, state some alternatives, say why those wouldn't work.  Conclusion: the people who made the Compromise did the best they possibly could.

I can see myself asking this question hoping you'd come to that conclusion.  Do you think your prof might be doing that?

parama9000's profile pic

parama9000 | Student, Grade 11 | (Level 1) Valedictorian

Posted on

I guess an answer would be to list a few alternatives of your own, comparing it to actual split, and justifying why the actual split was for the better.

sumore's profile pic

sumore | Student, College Freshman | eNotes Newbie

Posted on

i thought about moving the line, but like you said, it would still upset the balance. then i thought maybe if missouri was split into two separate states, northern (as a free state) and southern (as a slave state), but were there even enough colonists to consider missouri to be 2 separate territories to be able to apply for statehood? and allowing each state to decide if they were to be a free or slave state would not be feasible due to congress wanting to keep an even balance of free and slave states. so now i'm debating, maybe if there were some stipulation as to how much land a person must own before he would be allowed to have slaves. but i'm not sure how that would work either. i'm literally stuck on this question.

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