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Missouri History
© 2005 Rickie Lazzerini

Page 2

Historical Review 1.5   
Spanish Control

     In 1762, France ceded Louisiana, which included Missouri, to Spain. The Spanish then closed the Mississippi River to American settlers in an attempt to lesson the threat of their presence. Eventually, in hopes the settlers would convert to Catholicism, the area would be re-opened to settlement. The Spanish believed they could weaken the American west by taking its settlers. A group of seventy men, led by Colonel George Morgan, took up Spain's offer and moved into Spanish territory to found New Madrid. The settlement was active in the beginning with settlers planting crops and building houses. This settlement did not last long because of pressure from the Spanish to convert. Morgan quit the project, and most of the settlers followed him. Spain was not able to draw the settlers as it had hoped. Spain's grip on Louisiana continued to weaken until eventually becoming unworthy of the effort required. When Napoleon Bonaparte showed interest in re-establishing the French presence in North America, the Spanish made a deal. The French offered to expand the Italian province of Tuscany into the Kingdom of Urturia and give it to the Duke of Parma, who was the husband of the Spanish princess. In return, France would take Louisiana. The agreement would become finalized in the clandestine Treaty of Ildefonso in 1800.

American Control

     The slave revolt on the island of Saint Domingue (Haiti) overthrew French rule destroying Napoleon's vision of French dominance in North America. With the loss of Saint Dominque, Napoleon's plan was ruined and he soon wanted to get rid of Louisiana Territory. Thomas Jefferson heard of the overthrow and sent Robert R. Livingston to Paris to negotiate for New Orleans, but Napoleon refused. Jefferson then sent Secretary of State, James Monroe, to France to assist in negotiations, but just days before Monroe arrived Napoleon would offer all of Louisiana to Livingston for fifteen million dollars. On April 30, 1803 the Louisiana Purchase would make Louisiana part of the United States. This purchase of 828,000 square miles nearly doubled the size of the United States. The purchase consisted of land west of the Mississippi River to the Rocky Mountains, and from the Gulf of Mexico to Canada.

     A few months later, on June 20th, President Thomas Jefferson sent Meriwether Lewis a letter explaining his mission to explore the land from the Missouri River to the Pacific Ocean. Lewis, and his partner, William Clark, were sent to explore and map this new territory. On May 14, 1804, Lewis, Clark, and a crew of 45 men left St. Louis in three boats. They traveled from Missouri to Oregon and back again. Only about half of the men stayed on for the entire journey; some headed back early with maps and specimens to show President Jefferson. One man, Charles Floyd died in Iowa of unknown causes. Lewis and Clark would be joined by the Native American woman, Sacagawea, in North Dakota. Bringing along her infant son, she acted as an interpreter on the expedition. The journey took two years, four months and ten days. The team covered over 8,000 miles and were the first white men to document the grizzly bear and the prairie dog.

     The population of Louisiana Territory increased dramatically after American acquisition, with Upper Louisiana boasting over 20,000 residents by 1810.

The War of 1812

     In Missouri, the war was mainly fought with the Indians. Missourians were upset with the British for supplying the Indians with guns and enticing them towards violence against American settlers and traders. Discord between the settlers and Indians caused the governor to call out the Missouri Militia. The vigorous use of the militia held the Indians west of the Mississippi preventing the British from obtaining united support from any one tribe. In 1814, General Dodge and 350 horsemen marched into western Missouri to protect the scattered settlements. Warfare in Missouri did not end immediately with the treaty of Ghent between the United States and Great Britain; warfare between Indian tribes continued for years.

     Some Missouri soldiers include: Major Henry Dodge, who later became a general, Alexander McNair, who later became governor of Missouri, Major Nathan Boone, and Lieutenant Colonel Daniel M. Boone.


     The push for statehood began in 1818 when territorial delegate, John Scott, presented a petition to Congress asking for statehood. For the next three years Missouri statehood dominated American politics. The debate would be whether or not slavery should be allowed in territories and new states. At the time Missouri was seeking statehood, there was an equal number of free states versus slave states, creating a political balance. Because of this situation a compromise had to be met. The Missouri Compromise was proposed by Illinois senator, Jesse B. Thomas. He suggested that an amendment admitting Maine to the Union as a free state be added to the Missouri Statehood bill. He also proposed that slavery should be prohibited north of the 36 30' line. After some debate, Thomas' plan was accepted, and Missouri would be admitted into the Union in 1821 as the 24th state.
By Rickie Lazzerini

BA History
University of California, Santa Barbara

Index of Historical Reviews

2005 Rickie Lazzerini, All Rights Reserved
This page may be freely linked to but may not be reproduced
in any form without prior written consent from the author.

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