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[4] question for themselves. The territorial laws of Missouri recognized slavery. On that account the Northern members of Congress refused to admit it. The Southern members favored its admission, holding that the people of Missouri had a right to determine the question as they pleased when they came to frame their State constitution.

In this the North was manifestly the aggressor. Its position had no warrant in the Constitution, in the laws or in the precedents bearing on the subject. The contest that followed was prolonged and violent, but finally the State was admitted in 1821, as the result of the adoption of a compromise—known as the Missouri Compromise, the principal provisions of which were that Missouri should be admitted as a slaveholding State, but after that time there should be no slavery north of the line of 36 degrees and 30 minutes, while in States south of that line, formed out of territory embraced in the Louisiana purchase, slavery might or might not exist as the people determined in organizing State governments. In this way the immediate question at issue was settled, not in accordance with the law, or the constitutional right of the people organizing new States to make their own laws, but by drawing an arbitrary line across the country from east to west, and giving those on one side the right of self-government, and denying it to those on the other side.

This arrangement was not satisfactory to the people of Missouri, because it imposed upon them conditions on entering the Union which had not been imposed on the people of other States. But it put a stop to the agitation of the slavery question for a generation, as far as the admission of new States was concerned. In the meantime, however, it became more and more a political issue, attended with a growing feeling of bitterness on both sides. But it did not assume practical form again until California, organized out of a part of the territory

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