[url=http://fisher.lib.virginia.edu/cgi-local/censusbin/census/cen.pl?year=860]1860[/url] Missouri is prototypical of the United States – almost a miniature version of the country. It is a large and populous state with vast areas of cropland, burgeoning industry, growing urban areas and increasing numbers of immigrants.
Missouri is the 9th most populous state, ranking behind Massachusetts and ahead of Kentucky.
It ranks 11th in manufacturing between Indiana and Maryland, and 9th in farming – just behind Tennessee and ahead of Louisiana.
St Louis is the 8th largest city in the nation with 160,773 inhabitants, many of them German immigrants fleeing the failed 1848 revolution. It is the 3rd largest city in the South – smaller than only Baltimore and New Orleans.
In the mid-19th century Missouri was the ‘crossroads state’ – the Ohio, Mississippi and Missouri rivers all meet and help form its borders. Railroads snake across the state from Hannibal to St Joseph in the north and from St Louis to Jefferson City, Sedalia, Rolla and Ironton in the southeast.
Missouri is also the home to enslaved African-Americans. There are 114,931 slaves in the state ranking it #11 among southern slave states between its western neighbors Texas and Arkansas. It has the 9th most slave-holders behind South Carolina and ahead of Louisiana.
Interestingly, the slave-holding population was greatest in the north and the west along the Missouri River – a geographic anomaly with grave future consequences.
My intent is not to spew statistics, facts and numbers, but to set the stage where the nation’s sectional tension, friction, anxiety and issues meet in one state-sized package: Missouri.