You may not have thought about “The Missouri Compromise” since sixth grade social studies.
Political equilibrium was crucial when it came to admitting states into the union in the early 19th Century. That’s why the Missouri Compromise involved balance. The U.S. admitted Maine as a free state in March, 1820. Missouri came into the union simultaneously as a slave state. Slavery was barred north of the 36th parallel, where most of Missouri sits. So, policymakers crafted a deal to maintain the slavery prohibition – but admit Missouri – and offset it with the admission of Maine.
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