Missouri compromise in 18201 was a piece of legislation setby Henry clay with the intentions to defuse the tensions between AmericasBicameral Parliament , created by Missouris request as slave state. FollowingLouisiana acceptance as a slave state in 1812 there were no other territoriespetioning congress for statehood out of Purchase lands. This was until 1812whereby request by Missouri , challengedthe stability of both the Senate and the House and through the differentiationin opinions of policies an impasse within the government sparked. As well asgenerating tensions, Missouries admittance being in the trajectory of the freestates marked the beginning of the antebellum period whereby westward expansionbecame a focus and fear in the Northern territories and consequently in effortto combat the reality of westward expansion, Southerners way of life becamethreatened.
The granting of Missouris request received immediate oppositionparticularly by James Tallamage who proposed the “Tallmage Ammendment2” , whichwas defeated in the senate who held a parity of free and slave states despitebeing passed in the house who had more free states. The Missouri compromiseconditions included accepting maine who was initially part of Maschettutes as afree state in order to enable parity of free and slave states as well asprohibiting slavery in areas of the Louisana Purchase that is north of the36’30 parallel.Slavery being prohibite in areas of the Louisiana Purchase northof 36’30 parallel was mainly done so as a method of ensuring fears of westwardexpansions fo slavery is at bay. The controvery that sparked through as Missourisrequest hihglighted the division in the nation and how slavery was a prominentfactor in engineering this divison.
This plays into how the Missouri compromisekick starts the antebellum period , whereby slavery and its econmics drove thesouthern sentiment and fear of westward expansion was a massive threat for thenortherners. This ultimatley ties in with how the Missouri compromise became astepping stone for these sentiments to heighten and thus spiral out of control, consequently leading to a civil war . In terms of slaves , the compromise destoryed the hopes for emancipationof slaves on a gradual levels and essentially helped slaver to become alegitimate Southern institution.
However, the division in the South and Northas a whole , was created through the cotton gin invention as it made the beliefof slavery dying out which was accepted by both the North and the Southunlikely. The future of slavery began to look bleak pre cotton gin erafor both economic and social reasons . Prior the cotton gin invention, thesouthern economy began declining through the exhausation of land created bytobacco production in hand with the field creating “lesser yields”. In essencethis meant, fields giving 1000 pounds of cotton in 1700 were giving half thatby 17933.
In terms of Southern production and profitability , Thomas Jeffersonletter to William Draytion in 30 July17874 , highlighted his belief that grain demand from Europe will essentiallybecome the number one export, which did not require plantation labour,decreasing the demand for slave labour. Across northern territories, manystates began the prohibition of slaves as evident in Connecticut, Rhode Islandand Georgia prohibiton of slaves in 1774 as well as Delware in 17765. As wellas prohibiting slaves, societys such as Pennsylvania Quakers began to activelyforbid members from owning slaves or engaging slave trade in effort to put a haltto international slave trade. African Americans, were also active in Americanpolitics which is seen in Massachusetts slaves petition for the government interms of their freedom in October in 28, 1783. Although unsuccessful, theability for slaves to petition led for hope in freedom of slavers and thuscreated a foundation for other slaves to gain rights. This is evident , inJanuary 1800 whereby the free black people Philadelphia petition for thecongress to end the trade in 1794 was validated in 18076. In conclusion, theperiod before cotton gin invention consisted of decline of slavery botheconomically and socially.Eli Whitneys cotton gin invention in 1793 revolutionized theproduction of cotton through reigoravting the plantation system.
Whitney wasable to create the piece of technology under the Patent bill of 1790, whichessentially changed the dynamic of the Southern economy. Slave labour increaseddrastically because although the cotton gin did make cotton production faster,slaves were required to separate the seeds from the cotton fibres7. Thishighlights a change, as pre cotton period, tobacco exhausting the land inaddition to grain production not requiring plantation labour, made slaves notmuch of as a necessity unlike post cotton gin period. The increase in slavelabour demand is evident as in 1790 there was 657,000 slaves and by 1810 therewere almost 1.3 million8. As a consequence of the increase in the number ofslaves the cotton production, the US produced 5m lbs of cotton in 1793 and by1820 produced 170m lbs.e . Although, in1808 United States banned Slave trade importing African slaves, smuggling fromSouthern farmers continued.
The continuous smuggling of Southerners highlightshow the economic prosperity created by the Cotton gin drove slavery to becomethe fabric for southern economy, and in effort to maintain the financialbenefits, slave owners were adamant in increasing slave labour through actssuch as smuggling. Moreover, it is significant in understanding how slavelabour drove westward expansion, which is one of the key elements dividing theSouth and North. Around the years 1790 to 1810 , approximately 100,000 slaveswere imported to cotton fields in the South and West and from 1810 each decade, 100,0009 slaves were forced westward into Indian territories such as Alabama, Missisippi and Louisana which were valuable for plantation profitability. Interms of treatment of black people, the movement westwards for slaves led toseparation from their loved ones as well as placement in lands alien to themand their usual customs. This thus shows how Whitney’s cotton gin inventionbecame the key component in the change of treatment of black people as itplaced the spotlight back on maintaining slavery , and intensified the needs forslaves in which through ruthless systems such as the gang system adopted by Southern slave owners,placed slaves under horrific ordeals.
Several accounts support the idea of cotton gin beingsignificant in the treatment of black people. The increase of cotton demanddrove westward expansion into Indian territory which was great value for cottonprofitability thus creating an influx ofslaves chained in “coffles into their new territories. The new territoriescame had different conditions in which many slaves feared, whereby some even”fought like tigers”10 in avoidance of the tougher cotton regime inupper South territories who operated under task systems.
The differentiation inconditions for slaves is highlighted by Edward.E Baptist stating surviving slavesrecalled when crossing into Western territories they “entered a worldfundamentally different from the one in which they had toiled before”.This is supported by the “Second Middle Passage11″notion whereby over1million slaves who moved weswtards were in “coffles” and forced toleave their families. Unlike cotton plantations, tobacco plantations weresmaller in size and did not operate under the gang system12 as it wasn’t deemednecessary due to cotton gin invention leading to Tobacco falling in value13 .However following the cotton gin invention, cotton plantations in westwernterritories operated under the task system which required both children andwoman to work under a black overseer who was equipped with whips. This isevident in Charles Ball14 reports “the overseer with his whip im his handwalked about the field after us” , with ‘Us’ being a reference to includehim, the children and the woman.
This gives plausbile to the Edward.E Baptiststatement of forced migrants “entering a world fundamentally differentfrom the one in which they had toiled before” as slaves who initiallyworked on Tobacco fields in the deep south , did not endure this ordeal andactually had some freedom in the work. Numerous of statements made by Edward.
E Baptist receivescontemporary support, which essentially adds credibility to his points. Baptistgraduated from the University of Pensylvannia and a Professor of History atCornell University, Ithaca , New York15 where he a specialist on the history ofthe 19th – century United States, supporting the value of his published work.His keen on interest on the enslavement of USA makes his argument more crediblethrough the in depth research carried by Baptist . Based on the time period”The Half has never been told” was written which is in 9th September 2014, the information given us could been distorted thus making it lesscomprehensive. This is evident in this argument that United States had a “nearmonopoly” in terms of cotton trade by 1820. The idea of distorted informationis highlighted in the fact that Baptist own charts show share of U.S globalproduction to be less than 30%16, this essentially highlights distortedinformation as well as potential bias, reason being Baptist deciding to turn ablind eye on factual information created by his own charts in effort to shunthe cotton trade and exaggerate the reality of it. Despite this, Baptistsnumbers of slave accounts and level of statistics adds value to the informationgiven.
Edward Baptist information does obtain some credibility and usefulnessin understanding the framework of cotton trade, however the value of his workis tainted by the underlying bias in his information. Edward E. Baptist book “The half has never been told” has been discredited by Trevor Burnard Pages 180-18517 . He refers tothe book as being “inadequately researched” and “showing a lackof familarity with economic theory”.
Burnards statement regarding the work of Edward E.Baptist is supportedby the Psuedrmaras18 who challenges Baptist view and discredits the idea thattorture was a key element responsible for the US cotton boom 1800-60 incomparison to cotton cultivators and frontier soils. It states that Baptistidea that the increase in the rates of cotton picking by slaves was due to thegang labour system is in fact incorrect as evident in the Oldmstead and Rhodestatistical case whereby the the increase of cotton production from 25 lbs to100 lbs19 raw cotton per day between 1800-1860 was actually possible throughthe introduction of new seeds with higher yields which in turn made it easierfor slaves to obtain plants in territories in new south.
This supports theTrevord Burnards critique of Baptists information being “inadqautelyresearched” and lacking familiarity with economic theory”.Both historians are qualified in terms of academia andobtain a high level of expertise, with both being professors at university.However in terms of distorted information and bias, Burnard maintains the upperhand in avoidance of it as his statement of Baptists information being”inadequately researched ” and “lacking familiartiy with economic theory” wassupported with numerous amount evidence highlighting Baptists vague statementssuggesting Burnard to potentially be more credible. Moreover, Baptiste tonethroughout the book was one to provoke empathic feelings which essentiallymeant some part of his work was biased through his feelings and resentmenttowards slavery , which is evident through statements such as “Perhaps oneunspoken reason why many have been so reluctant to apply the term “torture” toslavery is that even though they denied slavery’s economic dynamism, they knewthat slavery on the cotton frontier made a lot of product”. He’s focal on’torture’ as an they key element that made a lot of product whilst disregardingthe introduction of new seeds, which thus supports the point that a lot ofBaptists information is distorted and bias mainly because his work isreflective of his own opinion on slavery as whole. His consistency on “thehorror of the lived experience of enslavement” as quoted by Burnard , is alsoshown through his support on replacing Andrew Jackson with Harriet Tubman20 interms of the United states twenty dollar bill on the basis that ” HarrietTubman is whats good about America… Andrew Jackson is whats problematic aboutour history”. On the other hand, Burnards work is less bias with his work andthis is shown in his publishment in June 2016 of ‘Colonialism and slavery’ inwhich was a co-authored comparative study.
This thus suggests the likelihood ofhis information being distorted is less especially with a second opinion fromanother author.The economic prosperity created by the cotton gin, led thesouth to grow further in not just economical terms but also in ideology andsociety, thus creating sectionalism in which the 1820 Missouri compromiseheightened. The cotton boom generated bythe “King cotton” , fuelled the determination for Southerners to expandwestwards due to its profitability in which as a consequence threatened theNortherners. The Missouri compromiseboth intensified the fear of westward expansion through admitting Missouridespite being in the trajectory of free states , as well as pronouncing thesectional divides through drawing an imaginary line across the Louisananterritory known as the 36’30 latitude. This in turn, threatened both the Northand South sentiments and thus both sides quickly became adamant in defendingtheir interest. Evidently , the South defended slavery as a “necessary evil” inwhich figures such as Geroge Fitzguh in 1854 viewed slavery as pivotal throughpointing slavery “provided him with food and shelter21”. This is significant as prior to the cottongin , Southerners did not assert slavery as beneficial to society but ratherits removal off it would affect the south greatly. On the opposing side , the Northerners ineffort to avoid the South forcing their “peculiar instituon” on them , adoptedthe Tarrif abominations of 182822 to protect their agriculatural interestthrough raisng tarrifs and importing taxes on wool , fur , and flax.
This billwas adopted as following the Missouri compromise, the fear of westwardexpansion became more real for the Northeners and thus their sentiments weremore threatened than before following the admittance of Missouri. The willingness and how adamant both the North and South touphold their interest drastically grewpost Missouri compromise . William Lloyd Garrison an abolitionist publication23 of the “The liberator” opens upby stating “line “I am in earnest — I will not equivocate — I will not excuse —I will not retreat a single inch — AND I WILL BE HEARD,”.
The tone of thishighlights the determination and willingness of Northerners to fight for theirinterest. Response to liberator by a Southern in the National intelligencer inSeptember 15, 183124 highlights how the increase of tension created by theMissouri compromise through pronouncing the sectional divides, sparked aviolent intents by the South in order to protect their “Southern way of life”as the response states how he has “the avowed prupose of inciting rebellion inthe South”. Both the publication and response happened post Missouri compromise, evidently showing the increase of tensions as well change in the dynamics ofthe relationship between the North and South in comparison to the Era of goodfeelings in which during Monroes presidencies from 186-1824 both sides wereable to come to some common ground and understanding of another . This is shownin the war of 181225 in which some issues diving both sides were halted as wellthe Republicans ability to embrace and understand the issues by theFederalists.
In conclusion, the Missouricompromise swept the issue of slavery under the rug and created the foundationfor tensions to boil up through threatening the South and North sentiments. Ira Berlin -The long emancipation26 is valuable inexplaining the threats Southerners felt regarding the sentiments towardsslavery post missouri compromise . In his written piece he states slaves ownerswere “through a series of subterfuges were eroding the prohibition of slaveryin the Northwest”. This is evident through the 185027 fugitive slave lawwhereby slave owners had the right to capture escaped slaves within the borderof Northern territories and upon capturing a penalty of $1000 and 6 months injail was given to those interfering with the rendition process. However, thislaw existed pre-Missouri compromise, known as the The Fugitive Slave Act of179328 Although , the rights for Southerners to capture fugitive slavecontinued the change in these laws were that unlike the 1850 fugitive slave law, captured slaves were to be brought in front a judge with evidence supportingthe claim that the slave it is their property. This is significant as it demonstratesthe threat felt by Southerners and their needs to protect Southern way of lifeand protect their interest as slavery.
Moreover, Ira Berlin, Generations ofcaptivity pg.128 depicts the treatment of black people as a result fromNortherners pressure, through its statement of slaves “struggling to enlargewartime gains” through planters attempt to “reassert old order”. This isessentially in reference to the white supremacists parliamentary groups such asRed Shirts in Mississippi and Caroline as well as the White League in Louisianawho in common both wanted to enable the Democrats back to power and prohibitfreemen from voting and engaging in civil rights. This is important as it showshow the Missouri compromise changed the operation of Southerners through its Ira Berlin born 1941 is an American historian as well as anUniversity Professor at the University of Maryland , making his piece veryvaluable considering his extensive knowledge on American history . Hiscomprehensive understanding is reflective on that Berlin received a Ph.D. fromthe Universtiy of Wisconsin Madison in 1970 as well as his written pieces onAmerican history and the larger Atlantic world in the 18th and 19th century,highlighting the credibility of his work due to the intensive knowledge he hasin regards to American history and factors regarding the emancipation processof slavery. The piece ‘The long emancipation’ was written in 15th September2015 , years after gaining his Ph.
D and finishing his thorough work on other booksregarding slavery. This suggest the book was written when in terms of intellect, Berlin had a more firm understanding on slavery as whole especially during atime period whereby other primary documents emerged in reference to slavery.This is particularly evident through Berlins piece “Remembering” which isessentially a book and tape set that incorporated the voices of people who hadbeen slaves. This emphasis the authencity of Berlins work, thus highlightingits value as whole in understanding the framework of slavery.In conclusion, the cotton gin invention essentially createdthe foundation for installation of fears by as it simultaneously brought prosperity for the South whilst generatingpotential downfall for the North in regards to their view. Prior to cotton gin,slavery was favored to die out as seen in George Washington letter who wrotedevoutly about his wish for some plan to be adopted “by which slavery may beabolished by slow, sure, and imperceptible degrees.” Although, aboltionists andacts against slavery did continue even during cotton gin boom , the Missouricompromise effectively proved the hopes of slavery dying out wrong throughplacing a focus on slavery once again and intensified the fears of Northernerscreated by “King Cotton”.The Missouri crisis probed an enormously problematicarea of American politics that would explode in a civil war.
Although themissouri compromise was a temporary solution the current slavery issue thatprevailed, the controversy and political instability it created , evoked fearswithin a number of abolitionists, particulary Thomas Jefferson who in hisprivate letter to John holmes on the 22nd of April 182029 described thecompromise as ‘The Knell of the Union’. Thomas Jefferson felt the divisions inthe country whereby the Missouri compromise heightened would eventually leadthe downfall of the Union. The Missouri compromise had massive effect on thepolitical stability of the country as the disputes evoked regarding the powersof Congress and the states , and as debates heated up , democratic republicansslowly turnt back to their old sovereignty principles. The Missouri Compromisemarks the beginning of the Antebellum Period of US History (1820-1860) becauseit had to do with both slavery and westward expansion – two of the mostimportant themes of this period. Overtime, as Northern abolitionists denounced slavery and slaveholders, Southernelites would move away from Jefferson’s view of slavery as a necessary evil toa view of slavery as a positive good.
The slavery issue – especially concerning the expansion of slavery -would become the most contentious issue in the sectional debates of theAntebellum period