1813- House Journals of the Territory/State of Missouri sessions of the General Assembly, with various printers and titles. The area comprising
present-day Missouri was once just a part of the much larger colonial-era French and then Spanish province of Louisiana. Under both suzerainties,
Louisiana was divided for administrative purposes into two massive districts, Lower Louisiana with its seat of governance at New Orleans, and Upper Louisiana,
governed from St. Louis. After the Louisiana Purchase in 1803, the U.S. retained this basic division, establishing the north/south dividing line at
the thirty-third degree of north latitude. Lower Louisiana became the Territory of Orleans. Upper Louisiana became the District of Louisiana and was
placed under the authority of the governor of the Indiana Territory. In 1804 the District of Louisiana was separated from the Territory of Indiana to
become the Territory of Louisiana, although a territory of the lowest order, administered by a governor and three territorial judges. Only in 1812,
after large portions of its land area had been broken off into other territories, and in pretty much its present dimensions, did the area we now know as
Missouri acquire self-government with its own General Assembly and a new name as the Territory of Missouri. The first territorial legislature met in
July, 1813. Formal statehood came in 1821 after a national struggle over the question of slavery and the balance of power between the northern ‘free
states” and their southern breather. The conflict was temporarily resolved under the “Missouri Compromise,” the main components of which were as follows.
Missouri was admitted as a “slave state,” balanced off by new “free state” Maine. Looking forward, slavery was prohibited in all portions of the
former Territory of Louisiana except for that portion which comprised the new state of Missouri. This compromise preserved the peace between the “slave”
and “free” states until the Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854 upset the status quo and led to the American Civil War. The first session of the statehood
legislature was held in September, 1821. (Documents in the Early State Records collection were digitized from a microfilm copy of titles originally held
by the State Historical Society of Missouri Library, the Law Association of Saint Louis Library, and the Library of Congress).