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The Missouri Compromise was a significant agreement reached in 1820 between the pro-slavery and anti-slavery factions in the United States Congress. It was designed to maintain peace and balance between the slave-holding and non-slave-holding states in the Union. The controversy over slavery had been brewing for decades, and tensions were escalating between the North and the South.

The Missouri Compromise was proposed by Henry Clay, a Kentucky senator, and it addressed the issue of slavery in the newly acquired western territories. At the time, there were 11 slave-holding states and 11 non-slave states in the Union. The admission of Missouri as a slave state would have tipped the balance in favor of the pro-slavery forces. This led to a heated debate in Congress, which lasted for two years.

Eventually, an agreement was reached, and the Missouri Compromise was passed into law. According to the agreement, Maine would be admitted as a free state, and Missouri would be admitted as a slave state. This maintained the balance of power between the slave and free states. Additionally, the 36°30′ north latitude line was established as the boundary for slavery in the Louisiana Territory. This meant that any state north of the line would be free, while any state south of the line would be allowed to have slaves.

The Missouri Compromise was a temporary solution to the problem of slavery, and it did little to resolve the underlying issues that were dividing the country. The agreement was controversial and received criticism from both sides of the debate. Nevertheless, it was an important step in the evolution of the slavery issue and paved the way for more significant legislation in the years to come.

In the end, the Missouri Compromise was repealed by the Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854, which led to a series of events that ultimately led to the Civil War. The legacy of the Missouri Compromise reminds us of the importance of compromise and the challenges of finding solutions to complex issues that divide a nation.