The Day by Day History of the
Missouri Became the 24th State
August 10, 1821
The Missouri territory came to the United
States as part of the 1803 Louisiana Purchase, one of the best
real estate deals the United States ever made. Before Missouri
became the 24th state on August 10, 1821, certain compromises
had to be made to keep a balance in the Union between the slave
and non-slave states. Those compromises would later turn
neighbor against neighbor.
Under the Missouri Compromise
of 1820, designed by statesman Henry Clay, Missouri entered the
Union as a slave state, and Maine entered as a free state, thus
keeping the number of slave and non-slave states equal at 12
John F. Smith recalled in an interview an incident
when Jayhawkers, a group opposed to slavery, came to his house
in 1861. One of the Jayhawkers threatened to shoot his father, a
Missouri slave owner.
". . . (then) we heard a shout and
looked up the road . . . The man dropped his gun to his side,
when Judge Myers rode up he was shaking his head and his eyes
were blazing fire . . . All the Jayhawkers turned around and
sulked off like whipped dogs."
The Civil War continued to
divide Missourians. Although the state remained with the Union,
some of its citizens chose to fight for the Confederacy. Smith's
father and his rescuer, Judge Myers, remained best friends
despite their conflicting views on slavery, but the two ended up
fighting on opposite sides of the war.
Ironclad ships, built
in Missouri, became part of the Missouri Squadron. The vessels
aided the Union in preventing the movement of Confederate troops