CHAPTER XXI. RISE OF THE WEST
SLAVERY BEYOND THE MISSISSIPPI. - By 1819 so many people had crossed the Mississippi and settled on the west bank and up the Missouri that Congress was asked to make a new territory to be called Arkansas and a new state to be named Missouri.
Whether the new state was to be slave or free was not stated, but the Missourians owned slaves and a settlement of this matter was important for two reasons: (1) there were then eleven slave and eleven free states, and the admission of Missouri would upset this balance in the Senate; (2) her entrance into the Union would probably settle the policy as to slavery in the remainder of the great Louisiana Purchase. The South therefore insisted that Missouri should be a slave-holding state, and the Senate voted to admit her as such. The North insisted that slavery should be abolished in Missouri, and the House of Representatives voted to admit her as a free state. As neither would yield, the question went over to the next session of Congress.
MAINE. - By that time Maine, which belonged to Massachusetts, had obtained leave to frame a constitution, and applied for admission as a free state. This afforded a chance to preserve the balance of states in the Senate, and Congress accordingly passed at the same time two bills, one to admit Maine as a free state, and one to authorize Missouri to make a proslavery constitution.
THE MISSOURI COMPROMISE, 1820. - The second of these bills embodied the Missouri Compromise, or Compromise of 1820, which provided that in all the territory purchased from France in 1803 and lying north of the parallel 36° 30' there never should be slavery, except in Missouri (map p. 279). 
This Compromise left a great region from which free states might be made in future, and very little for slave states. We shall see the consequences of this by and by.
EXPLORATION OF THE WEST. - West of Missouri the country was still a wilderness overrun by Indians, and by buffalo and other wild animals. Many believed it to be almost uninhabitable. Pike, who (1806-7) marched across the plains from St. Louis to the neighborhood of Pikes Peak and on to the upper waters of the Rio Grande, and Long, who (1820) followed Pike, brought back dismal accounts of the country. Pike reported that the banks of the Kansas, the Platte, and the Arkansas rivers might "admit of a limited population," but not the plains. Long said the country west of Council Bluffs "is almost wholly unfit for cultivation, and of course uninhabitable by people depending on agriculture," and that beyond the Rockies it was "destined to be the abode of perfect desolation."
THE GREAT AMERICAN DESERT. - This started the belief that in the West was a great desert, and for many years geographers indicated such a desert on their maps. It covered most of what is now Nebraska, Kansas, and Oklahoma, and parts of Texas, Colorado, and South Dakota. One geographer (1835) declared, "a large part maybe likened to the Great Sahara or African Desert."
THE NORTHWESTERN BOUNDARY. - When Louisiana was purchased in 1803 no boundary was given it on the north or west.
By treaty with Great Britain in 1818, the 49th parallel was made our northern boundary from the Lake of the Woods to the summit of the Rocky Mountains. 
THE OREGON COUNTRY. - The country west of the sources of the Missouri River and the Rocky Mountains, the region drained by the Columbia, or as it was sometimes called, the Oregon River, was claimed by both Great Britain and the United States. As neither would yield, it was agreed that the Oregon country should be held jointly for a time. 
THE SPANISH BOUNDARY. - South of Oregon and west of the mountains lay the possessions of Spain, with which country in 1819 we made a treaty, fixing the western limits of the Louisiana Purchase. We began by claiming as far as the Rio Grande, and asking for Florida. We ended by accepting the line shown on the map, p. 278, and buying Florida. 
1. The treaty of peace in 1814 left several issues unsettled; it was therefore followed by a trade treaty with Great Britain, an agreement to limit naval power on the northern lakes, and (1818) a treaty about fisheries in British waters.
2. The suspension of specie payments by the state banks during the war caused such disorder in the currency that a national bank was chartered to regulate it.
3. The embargo, by cutting off importation of British goods, encouraged home manufactures. Heavy importations after the war injured home manufactures, and to help them Congress enacted a protective tariff law.
4. Despite commercial troubles and the war, the people were prosperous. New towns were founded, travel was improved, the steamboat was introduced, and the West grew rapidly.
5. After 1815 a great wave of population poured over the West.
6. Seven new states were admitted between 1812 and 1821.
7. A struggle for the trade of the growing West led to the building of the Erie Canal.
8. A struggle over slavery led to the Missouri Compromise (1820).
9. By treaties with Great Britain and Spain, boundaries of the Louisiana Purchase were established, Florida was purchased, and the Oregon country was held jointly with Great Britain.
 A serious quarrel over the West Indian trade now arose and was not settled till 1830. Read McMaster's History of the People of the U. S., Vol. V, pp. 483-487.