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This quote from Thomas Jefferson is taken from a letter that he wrote to John Holmes, a senator, in April 1820. The line 'it is hushed indeed, for the moment' refers to the crisis in Congress which was sparked after Missouri asked for statehood in 1819. This was not, in itself, the problem. That Missouri had asked to practice slavery, however, threatened to upset the balance of existing states that were evenly-balanced in terms of who allowed slavery and who did not. In the ensuing debates in Congress, a compromise was finally agreed: Missouri would be accepted as a slave state but slavery would be forbidden from any future states above its southern border. Also, to right the balance, Maine would be accepted as a free state. Jefferson's quote, then, echoed a popular feeling after this decision: that the intervention of Congress in matters of slavery had set a dangerous precedent.
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