were organized as free States, the agitation of the slavery question continued.
In 1820 another compromise was adopted upon the admission of Missouri
as a State, which provided that slavery should not be allowed in any State of the Union
north of 36° 30′, the latitude of the southern boundary of Missouri
In effecting this compromise, Virginia
took a prominent part, acting as mediator between the two sections.
The agitation of the slavery question continued not only between the States of the Union
, but within the limits of Virginia
herself, as nearly one-third of her territory, mainly the Trans-Appalachian region, was practically a free State, and its citizens, many of whom were from the adjacent States of Pennsylvania
, constantly demanded special legislation on questions of representation in the general assembly, in consequence of the large preponderance of negroes east of that chain of mountains.
Many citizens of the Great Valley
and of Appalachia were much in sympathy with this feeling, and in 1823 the State
came very near adopting gradual emancipation, a large number of the most influential men in every portion of the commonwealth favoring it. The chief hindering cause was the question, still unanswered, ‘What shall be done with this great body of negroes when emancipated?’
About that time the abolitionists throughout the free States became very zealous in the propagation of their peculiar views upon the subject of slavery, and deluged Congress with petitions against it and flooded the country with abolition publications.
This provoked a reaction in sentiment in Virginia
and the other Southern States, which again led, in 1838, to the adoption of ‘State rights’ resolutions by Congress, reaffirming that the Federal
government had no right to interfere with slavery in the States where it existed.
This for the time being quieted the agitation, but the question came up again in 1845, when it was proposed to annex Texas
; and was again settled by a compromise agreement, that four new States might be formed out of that great country, those north of 36° 30′ to be free States, and those south of it either free or slave as their citizens might elect.
The propagandists of the North
and the ultra slave.
holders of the South
, as contending factions, still continued the agitation of this question.
The three leading