The Newberry Seminar in Early American History presents:
"The Internal Missouri Compromise: Constructing Race, Citizenship, and Statehood in 1820 St. Louis"
Dan Graff, University of Wisconsin-Madison January 25, 2001, 3:30-5:30pm, Newberry Library
The national crisis over Missouri's statehood in 1819-1821 aroused interconnected controversies over slavery, citizenship, and political economy in St. Louis. The extensive and rich scholarship on the national Missouri Crisis and Compromise has largely ignored the political divisions within St. Louis that threatened to undermine the Congressional accord - whose main goal was to promote a sectional balance between free and slave states. As white St. Louisans celebrated the Compromise and looked forward to their admission to the union, a local movement of "restrictionists" arose to outlaw slavery in the state constitution.
The campaign to elect delegates to the constitutional convention unleashed an internal Missouri Crisis in St. Louis, rivaling the one recently resolved in Washington. In the passionate debates culminating in the election, white St. Louisans discussed not only slavery per se, but also economic development, respect for labor generally, and political equality among whites. In the resulting "internal Missouri Compromise," the state's founding fathers wrote a constitution granting full citizenship to white men while preserving the right to own slaves. Most importantly, they forbade free blacks from migrating to the state under any circumstances, explicitly linking race to the right to reside within Missouri. This paper explores the development of this racial definition of citizenship, which significantly shaped the rise of mass politics and the emergence of the labor movement in antebellum St. Louis.
The seminar format assumes participants have read the paper in advance. Please do not request a paper unless you plan to attend. Papers are precirculated electronically whenever possible. To receive a paper contact Catherine Clement in the Scholl Center by e-mail or phone.
Scholl Center for Family and Community History
The Newberry Library
60 W. Walton Street
Chicago, Illinois 60610
ph: (312) 255-3524
fx: (312) 255-3696 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Visit the website at http://www.newberry.org
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