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Authors: United States. Congress
Date: March 1, 1820
This legislation admitted Missouri as a slave state and Maine as a non-slave state at the same time, so as not to upset the balance between slave and free states in the nation. It also outlawed slavery above the 36 degrees 30 minutes latitude line in the remainder of the Louisiana Territory. With the purchase of the Louisiana Territory and the application of Missouri for statehood, the long-standing balance between the number of slave states and the number of free states would be changed. Controversy arose within Congress over the issue of slavery. Congress adopted this legislation and admitted Missouri as a slave state and Maine as a non-slave state at the same time, so that the balance between slave and free states in the nation would remain equal. The Missouri compromise also proposed that slavery be prohibited above the 36 degrees 30 minutes latitude line in the remainder of the Louisiana Territory. This provision held for 34 years, until it was repealed by the Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854. The document featured here is the conference committee's report on the Missouri Compromise. Images, transcription, and document description courtesy of the National Archives and Records Administration, Our Documents web site, http://www.ourdocuments.gov/doc.php?doc=22.
Keywords: Kansas Nebraska Act; Missouri compromise; United States. Congress
Constitution and Bylaws
Authors: Union Emigration Society
Date: May 29, 1854
This document was the Constitution and bylaws of the Union Emigration Society. It included the purpose of the society and information about how to become a member of the organization.
Keywords: Antislavery; Emigrant aid companies; Goodrich, J. Z.; Kansas Nebraska Act; Union Emigration Society; Washington, D.C.
Kansas Territorial Seal
Authors: No authors specified.
Date: May 30, 1854
The Kansas territorial seal supposedly was engraved by Robert Lovett of Philadelphia from a design developed by Andrew H. Reeder, the first Territorial Governor of Kansas. Encircling the border of the two-inch brass die is the text, "SEAL OF THE TERRITORY OF KANSAS / ERECTED MAY 30, 1854." The face features a pioneer holding a rifle and hatchet opposite Ceres (the goddess of agriculture) who stands next to a sheaf of grain. At their feet lie a tree and the axe that felled it. Between these two figures is a shield with a plow in the top compartment and a hunter stalking a buffalo below. Above the shield is a banner reading, "POPULI VOCE NATA." This Latin motto has been translated to read "Born by the voice of the people" or "Born of the popular will." The motto speaks directly to the Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854, creating the territory and establishing popular sovereignty whereby voting residents would decide if Kansas became a slave or free state.
Keywords: Agricultural implements; Agriculture; Kansas Nebraska Act; Kansas Territory; Objects; Popular sovereignty; Reeder, Andrew H. (Andrew Horatio), 1807-1864; Territorial government
Authors: United States. Congress
Date: May 30, 1854
Officially titled "An Act to Organize the Territories of Nebraska and Kansas," this act repealed the Missouri Compromise, which had outlawed slavery above the 36 degrees 30 minutes latitude in the Louisiana Territory and reopened the national struggle over slavery in the western territories. In January 1854, Senator Stephen Douglas introduced a bill that divided the land west of Missouri into two territories, Kansas and Nebraska. He argued for popular sovereignty, which would allow the settlers of the new territories to decide if slavery would be legal there. Antislavery supporters were outraged because, under the terms of the Missouri Compromise of 1820, slavery would have been outlawed in both territories. After months of debate, the Kansas-Nebraska Act passed on May 30, 1854. Images and document description courtesy of the National Archives and Records Administration, Our Documents web site, http://www.ourdocuments.gov/doc.php?doc=28. Transcription courtesy of the Avalon Project at Yale Law School, http://www.yale.edu/lawweb/avalon/avalon.htm.
Keywords: Kansas Nebraska Act; Missouri compromise; Slavery; United States. Congress; Westward expansion
Letter, J. Z. Goodrich to Dear Sir
Authors: Goodrich, J. Z.
Date: June 29, 1854
This printed letter, on letterhead from the House of Representatives in Washington, D. C., was written by John Zacheus Goodrich, a representative from Massachusetts. He informed the recipient that members of Congress and regular citizens of the city had formed the Union Emigration Society--these citizens opposed both the repeal of the Missouri Compromise and the opening of the territories to slavery. It included details about the Missouri Compromise, the designs of Slave Power, and stated that "our watchword is Constitutional Freedom everywhere within the jurisdiction of the United States."
Keywords: Antislavery; Antislavery movements; Antislavery perspective; Goodrich, J. Z.; Kansas Nebraska Act; Kansas question; Missouri compromise; Nebraska Territory; Sectionalism (United States); Slave power; Slavery; United States. Congress. House
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