Cyclopædia of Political Science, Political Economy, and the Political History of the United States

Edited by: Lalor, John J.
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MISSOURI, a state of the American Union, formed from the Louisiana purchase. (See ANNEXATIONS, I.)


—BOUNDARIES. When the territory of Orleans, afterward the state of Louisiana, was organized (see LOUISIANA), the entire remainder of the new purchase was organized, by act of March 3, 1805, as the territory of Louisiana, and its name was changed to Missouri territory by act of June 4, 1812. (See also ARKANSAS) March 6, 1820, an enabling act was passed (see COMPROMISES, IV.), authorizing the formation of a state government by the people of Missouri, within the following boundaries: "Beginning in the middle of the Mississippi river on the parallel of 36° north latitude; thence due west to the Saint Francois river, and up that river to the parallel 36° 30' north latitude; thence due west to a point where the said parallel is intersected by a meridian line passing through the middle of the mouth of the Kansas river, where the same empties into the Missouri river; thence due north to the intersection of the parallel which passes through the rapids of the river Des Moines; thence east to the middle of the channel of the main fork of the Des Moines river, down the Des Moines to the Mississippi, and down the Mississippi to the place of beginning." The northern boundary line of the state was long undecided. Iowa claimed that the rapids in the Mississippi, called by the French explorers La rapides la riviere Des Moines were the point through which the parallel above referred to was to pass; Missouri argued for certain rapids, or ripples, in the Des Moines itself, some twenty-five miles farther north. In the dispute between the two states military force was repeatedly threatened, and once employed, and a Missouri sheriff was arrested and imprisoned. Acts of congress, for the purpose of ascertaining the true boundary line, were passed June 18, 1838, July 20, 1840, March 3, 1841, and June 17, 1844; but all were unsatisfactory and unsuccessful. Another act of Aug. 4, 1846, referred the whole question to the United States supreme court. Its decision was in favor of Iowa, and this was confirmed by act of Feb. 15, 1848, and ended the dispute. On the other hand, by the act of June 7, 1836, congress extended the state on the west to the Missouri river, thus giving it, says Benton, "an addition equal in extent to such states as Delaware and Rhode Island, by its fertility equal to one of the third class of states." By the Missouri compromise this was to have been forever free soil, but this act made it part of a slave state.


—CONSTITUTIONS. The state's first constitution was adopted by a convention at St. Louis, June 12-July 19 1820. It forbade the legislature to pass emancipation laws without consent of owners, or to prevent immigrants from bringing slaves with them; it ordered the legislature "to prevent free negroes and mulattoes from coming to and settling in this state under any pretext whatsoever"; it fixed the governor's term at four years; and it directed the permanent seat of government to be located on the Missouri river, within forty miles of the mouth of the Osage. The capital was laid out accordingly, and named Jefferson City; and the legislature held its first session there, Nov. 20, 1826.


—The constitution was presented to congress at its next session, and the "free negro clause" revived the excitement which had been allayed by the Missouri compromise. The bill for the state's admission passed the senate; in the house a proviso was added that Missouri should abolish slavery; and the two house disagreed. Another compromise was finally adopted, March 2, 1821, by which Missouri was to be admitted on the fundamental condition that the legislature should pledge the faith of the state that the "free negro clause" should never be executed. June 26, 1821, the legislature passed a "public and irrevocable act" in the terms required; but a long preamble declared that the action of congress was palpably unconstitutional and grossly insulting to the state. that the people of Missouri did not intend to respect or be bound by the condition, but that the act was passed as the only means of securing immediate admission. President Monroe chose to consider this measure of compliance as sufficient, and declared Missouri admitted by his proclamation of Aug. 10, 1821.


—The amendments to the constitution of 1820 were mainly in the direction of an entirely elective judiciary. A new constitution was framed by a state convention, Nov. 7, 1845-Jan. 14, 1846, but was rejected by popular vote.


—The state convention which was called in 1861, with the hope of securing an ordinance of secession, proved to be the most extraordinary convention in the history of any state. It held five sessions, Feb. 28-March 22, 1861, July 22-31, 1861. Oct. 10-18, 1861, June 2-14, 1862, and June 15-July 1, 1863. Circumstances (see political history below) made the convention a revolutionary governing body for the state, even when the legislature was in session; it abolished or suspended state offices, abrogated state laws, disfranchised voters unable to take a test oath of past loyalty, changed, suspended or forbade elections by the people, and even abolished slavery after July 4, 1870.


—After the close of the war within the state a new constitution was framed by a convention at St. Louis, Jan. 6-April 10, 1865. It abolished slavery; it excluded every person who had "ever been in armed hostility to the United States," or who had ever committed any one of a long list of offenses against the government, from the right of suffrage, from holding any office of honor, trust or profit in the state, in any corporation, or in any school; it provided for a registration of "qualified voters"; and it ordered a comprehensive test oath of past loyalty to be taken by all applicants for registration or aspirants to office. All these provisions were the result of a deep-seated resentment against the politicians who in 1861 had endeavored to hurry the state into secession against the wish of its people, and had thus made it the theatre of an unusually savage and desolating warfare. Nevertheless, the popular majority in favor of it was only 43,670 to 41,808.


—All the disfranchisement clauses were wiped out by an amendment ratified Nov. 8, 1870. A new constitution was framed by a convention at Jefferson City, May 5-Aug. 2, 1875, and was ratified Oct. 30, by a popular vote of 90,600 to 14,362. It increased the governor's term to four years; it forbade special legislation on a great number of specified subjects; it forbade the contracting of debt by the legislature for more than $250,000 in any one year, unless the act should be approved by a two-thirds majority of the qualified voters of the state, at an election for that purpose; it forbade the creation of corporations except by general law; and it made a residence of one year in the state, sixty days in the precinct, or declaration of intention to become a citizen, the only restrictions upon manhood suffrage.


—GOVERNORS. Alexander McNair, 1820-24; Frederick Bates, 1824-8; John Miller, 1828-32; Daniel Dunklin, 1832-6; Lilburn W. Boggs, 1836-40; Thomas Reynolds, 1840-44; John C. Edwards, 1844-8; Austin A. King, 1848-52; Sterling Price, 1852-6; Trusten Polk, 1856-60; Claiborne F. Jackson, 1860-61; Hamilton R. Gamble, provisional, 1861-4; Thos. C. Fletcher, 1864-8; Jos. W. McClurg, 1868-70; B. Gratz Brown, 1870-72; Silas Woodson, 1872-4; Chas. H. Harding, 1874-6; John S. Phelps, 1876-80; Thomas T. Crittenden, 1880-84.


—POLITICAL HISTORY. The state entered the Union during the "era of good feeling," and struggles for office were at first rather personal than political. The governors, senators and congressmen were fully in sympathy with the Monroe and Adams administrations, and the electoral vote of the state was cast for Monroe in 1820 and for Clay in 1824. Since that year the state has been democratic in all general elections, except during the period 1862-70, referred to below, including the two presidential elections of 1864 and 1868, when the state was republican. Until 1860 all the governors and legislatures were democratic, the proportion of the state vote being very steadily about 55 per cent. democratic and 45 per cent. opposition (whig until 1855, and American or know-nothing thereafter); the only exception was in 1852, when, after forty-eight ballots, a coalition of free-soil democrats and whigs elected the speaker of the house.


—In the early history of the state there is little of general political interest until about 1849-50, when the disruption of the state democratic party took place, and the leadership of it was wrested from Senator Benton. Benton's followers had for some half dozen years been known as "hards," mainly from the "hard money" ideas of their leader, while his democratic opponents were called "softs." In 1849 the "softs" carried through the legislature the "Jackson resolutions of '49," which pledged the state to co-operation with the other slaveholding states against any attempt to exclude slavery from the territories. Benton denounced the resolutions as secessionist and treasonable, refused to obey them, and appealed to the people. His party in the state was led by F. P. Blair, B. Gratz Brown, Richard A. Barrett and Arnold Krekel; the "softs" by Sterling Price and Claiborne F. Jackson; and the whigs by Samuel Woodson and Thomas Allen. The result was that Benton was beaten, lost his senatorship, and, after serving a term in the house of representatives, was beaten in the election for governor in 1856, polling a smaller vote than either the "soft" or the know-nothing candidate. From that time the whole party machinery was in the hands of the "softs," or pro-slavery party.


—A state convention met at Jefferson City, Feb. 28, 1861, to "consider the relations" between Missouri and the federal government. The act calling the convention had stipulated that no ordinance of secession should be valid until ratified by popular vote; but this was needless, as the convention proved to have a Union majority. March 4 the convention again met at St. Louis, listened to a secession commissioner from Georgia, and refused to join in the secession movement. But, though the convention and the popular majority were unionist, the state officers, the legislature and the leading "soft" politicians were strongly secessionist. Preparations were busily made to levy was against the United States; these were defeated by the energy of the federal general, Nathaniel Lyon; and in May the state became the theatre of open war. When the state convention reassembled, July 22, 1861, at Jefferson City, it found the state government suspended. The governor, the lieutenant governor, the president of the senate, the speaker of the house, a majority of the legislature and a part of the convention itself, including its president, Sterling Price, had fled the state, after an unsuccessful attempt at armed revolution. The convention, therefore, as the only representative of the people of the state, assumed the powers of government. July 30 it declared vacant the offices of the governor, the lieutenant governor and the members of the legislature, and appointed a provisional governor, Hamilton R. Gamble, and a provisional lieutenant governor, Willard P. Hall, who retained their positions until 1864. Aug. 5, 1861, Gov. Jackson, by proclamation, declared the independence of Missouri; and Nov. 2 the secession remnant of the legislature, at Neosho, voted the state into the southern confederacy and elected senators and representatives to the confederate congress. (See CONFEDERATE STATES.) The legislature which met Dec. 29, 1862, had a majority in both branches in favor of the abolition of slavery in the state, and the state convention passed an ordinance of gradual abolition in 1863. (See ABOLITION, III.) By this time the forces of the state had been disciplined so thoroughly that they were able to defeat a rebel army under Shelby; and the state convention finally adjourned and left the ordinary state government in operation. The electoral vote of the state in 1864 was given to Lincoln by a popular vote of more than two to one, and the "radical republicans" elected the governor, the other state officers, a heavy majority of the legislature, and eight of the nine congressmen.


—A new state convention met at St. Louis, Jan. 6, 1865, finally abolished slavery (see ABOLITION, III.) and formed a new constitution. Its most noteworthy features were the disfranchisement of any person who had taken part in any manner in the rebellion, the establishment of a rigid "oath of loyalty" and the provision that no person could vote, hold any state, county or municipal office, teach in any school, preach, solemnize marriage or practice law, unless he could take the stipulated oath that he had never committed any of the long list of offenses for which disfranchisement was made the penalty. The attempt to carry this test oath into effect was resisted throughout the state by ministers of all denominations, by teachers, lawyers and others, and before the end of the year the oath itself was pronounced unconstitutional by the United States supreme court, as an ex post facto law. The attempt to enforce it was then abandoned, except in the registration law of 1868, which empowered the registrars to reject the names of persons guilty of enumerated offenses, even if they offered to take the oath. In 1868 the "radical republicans" again elected their state ticket, presidential electors, a majority of the legislature, and six out of the nine representatives in congress.


—In 1870 the feeling against the disfranchising clauses of the constitution had become so strong that it split the dominant party. The "liberal republicans," headed by Senator Carl Schurz and B. Gratz Brown, desired "universal amnesty and universal enfranchisement," both of negroes and former rebels. In the republican state convention. Sept. 2, the majority of the committee on resolutions made a report conveying the views of the "liberal republicans." It was rejected by a vote of 349 to 342, whereupon 250 of the delegates withdrew, organized a separate convention, and nominated Brown for governor and a full state ticket. The liberal ticket, supported by the democrats, was successful by a popular vote of 104,771 to 62,854. The liberals and democrats also elected a majority of the legislature, and six of the nine congressmen. At the same election an amendment to the constitution was ratified, abolishing the test oath and disfranchisement clauses. (For the national development of the liberal movement see LIBERAL REPUBLICAN PARTY.)


—In 1872 the fusion of liberal republicans and democrats elected the state ticket, the Greeley presidential electors, a majority of the legislature, and nine of the thirteen congressmen. Since that time the state has been democratic in all elections, and in 1874 the republicans even dropped their party name, assuming for the time that of the "people's party." In 1876 and 1880 the electoral vote of the state was given to the democratic candidates by heavy popular majorities. In the congressional elections of 1880 the democrats elected eight congressmen, four of the others being "republican greenbackers" and one republican. In almost all the congressional districts the struggle at this election was very close and doubtful: one of the representatives received a majority of but two votes out of 41,552, and the majorities of several others were exceedingly meagre—Among the citizens of Missouri who have become prominent in national polities are Thos. H. Bentor, F. P. Blair and Carl Schurz. (See those names.) The following also should be mentioned: David R. Atchison, United States senator 1843-55, and a prominent pro-slavery leader in the Kansas struggle (see KANSAS); Edward Bates, national republican representative in congress 1827-9, afterward prominent as a whig politician in the state, president of the whig national convention in 1856, and attorney general under Lincoln; Henry T. Blow, minister to Venezuela 1861-2 and to Brazil 1869-71, and republican representative 1869-71; James O. Broadhead, a whig leader until the downfall of that party, an active union leader during the rebellion, and provost marshal of the state; B. Gratz Brown, United States senator 1863-7, governor 1870-72, and liberal republican candidate for vice-president in 1872; John B. Clark, democratic representative 1857-61 (expelled), and senator in the confederate congress; John B. Clark, Jr., democratic representative 1873-83; F. M. Cockrell, United States senator 1875-87; John B. Henderson, one of the Douglas democratic leaders in 1860, and United States senator 1862-9; Lewis F. Linn, United States senator (democratic) 1833-43; Jos. W. McClurg, republican representative 1863-8, and governor 1868-70. Sterling Price, democratic representative 1845-6, brigadier general in the Mexican war, governor 1853-7, and confederate major general; Jas. S. Rollins, whig candidate for governor in 1848 and 1856, and republican representative 1861-5; and David Wagner, chief justice of the state supreme court 1865-80.


—The name of Missouri was given from that of its principal river, an Indian word, said to mean "muddy water," the original form of the word being Minneshoshay.


—See 2 Stat. at Large, 331, 743, and 3 Stat. at Large, 545, 645 (for the acts of March 3, 1805, June 4, 1812, March 6, 1820, and March 2, 1821, respectively); 6 Benton's Debates of Congress, 711; 6 Bioren and Duane's Stat. at Large, 666 (for Missouri's assent); 7 Benton's Debates of Congress, 129 (for the president's proclamation); Cutts' Treatise on Party Questions, 73; 1 Benton's Thirty Years' View, 8, 626; 2 von Holst's United States, 143; authorities under COMPROMISES, IV., and ELECTORS, III.; Gale's Upper Mississippi (1600- 1867); Monette's History of the Mississippi Valley; 1 Draper's Civil War, 349; and 2 :227; Shepard's Early History of St. Louis and Missouri; Münch's Der Staat Missouri (1859); 21 Atlantic Monthly ("Free Missouri."); Davis and Durrie's History of Missouri (1876); Porter's West in 1880. 296.


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