The Civil War in Missouri

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Divisions Exposed

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As the nation headed toward war, a series of events shone a light on Missouri's internal divisions. A political fissure that developed during the national controversy over Missouri's admission as a state in 1821 became more pronounced as parties began to fracture over issues such as nativism, westward expansion, and the conflict between economic systems that kept slavery in the public's mind. The Compromise of 1850 allowed, among other provisions, new territories in the southwest (New Mexico, Nevada, Arizona, and Utah) to be organized without mention of slavery. The Compromise was a major factor in postponing war but ultimately proved ineffective in preventing it.

The Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854 allowed settlers to decide if slavery would be permitted in those territories. Extremists on both sides flooded into Kansas to determine its destiny. The situation spiraled out of control as Kansas Jayhawkers and Missouri Border Ruffians raided back and forth, resulting in a violent era that came to be known as "Bleeding Kansas."

These political solutions became building blocks to war as they ultimately left pro-slavery and anti-slavery factions dissatisfied and contributed to a power struggle between both sides.

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