Even during the Era of Good Feelings, a time of peace, pride, and progress in the United States, conflicts still arose. Sectionalism separated the states who believed in slavery from those who were against it.
Dispute Over Missouri
In 1819, Missouri applied for the Union as a slave state. This was a problem because at that time there were 11 slave states and 11 free states. Adding another slave state would tip the balance in favor of the South. The House passed a special amendment that declared that Missouri would become a slave state, but importing enslaved Africans into Missouri would be illegal. Soon after, the Senate rejected the Amendment and Missouri was still not a state.
To keep the balance of slave and free states, Henry Clay convinced Congress to pass the Missouri Compromise in 1820. The Missouri compromise had three main conditions:
- Missouri would enter the Union as a slave state.
- Maine would join the Union as a free state, keeping the number of slave and free states equal.
- Slavery would be prohibited in any new territories north of 36º30' latitude. Missouri's southern border.