Missouri, state in the central United States. Missouri is bordered on the north by Iowa, on the west by Nebraska, Kansas, and Oklahoma, on the south by Arkansas, and on the east by the Mississippi River, which separates it from Tennessee, Kentucky, and Illinois. The name of the state is taken from the Missouri River and is an Algonquian name for a group that lived near the mouth of the river. The state’s most famous city, St. Louis, lies near the convergence of two great inland water routes, the Missouri and the Mississippi rivers. Jefferson City is Missouri’s capital. Kansas City is the largest city.
Located in the geographic heart of the nation, Missouri is one of the foremost agricultural states in the country and is one of the most important manufacturing states in the Midwest. Midwestern in its grain and cornfields, Southern in its cotton fields, Western in its cattle raising, and Eastern in its manufacturing, Missouri is today more than ever the Center State, as it is sometimes known, and a major transportation crossroads.
When it was admitted to the Union as the 24th state on August 10, 1821, Missouri was the nation’s western frontier. Soon, however, it became known as the Gateway to the West, because of the great overland routes that led from Missouri to California and Oregon. Still another nickname was added to the list in 1899, when Congressman Willard D. Vandiver said: “I come from a country that raises corn and cotton and cockleburs and Democrats, and frothy eloquence neither convinces nor satisfies me. I’m from Missouri. You’ve got to show me.” After that, Missouri became known as the Show Me State.
Missouri ranks 21st in size among the 50 states. Its area of 180,533 sq km (69,704 sq mi) includes 2,119 sq km (818 sq mi) of inland water. The state’s distances at their maximum are 587 km (365 mi) from east to west and 513 km (319 mi) from north to south. The mean elevation is about 240 m (about 800 ft).
Within Missouri are found three of the major physiographic provinces of the United States: the Central Lowland, the Ozark Upland, or Ozark Plateau, and the Gulf Coastal Plain. Each of these physiographic regions and its subdivisions, or sections, has a distinctive combination of topography, soils, and natural vegetation.
A large part of the Central Lowland in Missouri constitutes a section called the Northern Plains, or the Dissected Till Plains. This section occupies almost all of the state north of the Missouri River. The Northern Plains occupy not only northern Missouri but also adjacent portions of Kansas, Nebraska, and Iowa.
The name Dissected Till Plains suggests the origin of this area’s topography. Till plains are gentle plains composed of rock and soil particles and fragments left behind by retreating glaciers. In Missouri, continental glaciers once reached approximately as far south as the Missouri River, which marks the southern edge of the Northern Plains. After they retreated, the glaciers left behind the gentle surface of a till plain. The glaciation of northern Missouri occurred relatively early in the sequence of ice-sheet advances and retreats in North America. Therefore there has been time since glaciation for stream erosion to roughen the original gentle surface of the till plain, and the plain has been dissected, or cut up, by the action of rivers deepening and widening their valleys.
A succession of river valleys bordered by belts of hilly country characterizes the landscape of the Northern Plains. Between these dissected areas lie gently rolling or almost flat areas, which are the remnants of the original till plain. The most level land in the Northern Plains lies in a narrow belt just west of the Mississippi River, where dissection has scarcely begun. Geographers sometimes treat this narrow band of the Central Lowland in eastern Missouri as a separate section, which they call simply the Till Plains. The Till Plains extend eastward into Illinois, where they cover almost the entire state. In Missouri glacial till is usually from 15 to 30 m (50 to 100 ft) thick.
The vegetation prior to European settlement in the Northern Plains consisted of both forest and prairie. The flat floodplains of the rivers and the adjacent belts of hills were the most wooded sections, with oak especially prominent. Areas at some distance from the major streams tended to be covered with prairie grasses interspersed with patches of woodland.
The Osage Plains form another section of Missouri’s Central Lowland. They are often called the Western Plains. This section lies south of the Northern Plains and west of the Ozark Upland. The Osage Plains extend into Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas.
These plains in southwestern Missouri lay south of the limit of glaciation. Their surface, having received no glacial deposits, reflects the results of erosion of the underlying bedrock and is generally smoother than that of the Northern Plains. Occasional lines of low hills have been formed where a relatively hard layer of rock has resisted erosion and stands out above the rest of the terrain. However, the relief is not impressive in this section of Missouri, nor are the wide shallow valleys cut by the streams.
The Ozark Plateau, or Ozark Upland, occupies most of Missouri south of the Missouri River. It extends into adjacent parts of Arkansas and Oklahoma. The region is also called the Ozark Mountains and sometimes the Ozark Hills or simply the Ozarks.
In overall form the Ozark Upland is an uplifted dome elongated in a southwest-northeast direction. The highest part of the dome in Missouri extends from the southwestern corner of the state northeastward to the Saint Francois Mountains. Large areas along the crest of this dome are between about 375 and 500 m (about 1,200 and 1,600 ft) high. This is not high compared to the Appalachian or Rocky mountains, but it is markedly higher than the surrounding plains. Southeastward from the crest the upland descends fairly steeply, so that it is only about 120 m (about 400 ft) above sea level at its junction with the plains along the Mississippi River. On the northern side of the crest the descent is somewhat more gradual.
Topography in the Ozark Upland does not correspond in any simple way to elevation. As in the Northern Plains, the roughness of the local topography depends on the degree to which streams have cut valleys into the surface, which originally was quite smooth. The most dissected areas show picturesque tangles of deep stream valleys and intervening ridges with steep slopes. They are found near the Current and Black rivers in the southeast, near the White River in the extreme southwest, and near the Osage and Gasconade rivers in central Missouri. In the most deeply dissected areas, principally those on the southern slope of the dome, stream valleys have cut 120 to 210 m (400 to 700 ft) into the upland surface. The surface has been reduced to a series of narrow interstream ridges.
In contrast to the hilly sections, large areas near the top of the dome and some toward its lower edges are relatively undissected. They give the appearance of monotonous, rolling plains. There are deeply entrenched stream valleys in this area, but they are so widely spaced that the casual observer may well be unaware of them. A name often applied to most of this region is the Salem Upland. Part of it, in the southwest, is called the Springfield Plateau. The Springfield Plateau adjoins the Osage Plains. Its surface is almost as gentle as that of the plains, except for occasional river valleys that have made cuts of 60 to 90 m (200 to 300 ft) into the plain.
Most of the Ozark Upland is composed of sedimentary rocks, principally soluble limestones and dolomites, also known as carbonate rocks. Over many thousands of years surface and underground waters have burrowed the uplands into a labyrinth of thousands of caves, springs, and sinkholes. It is known as karst topography. The carbonate rocks cover a hidden core of older, harder igneous rocks. One section of the Ozark Upland, however, differs in character from all other sections. This is the Saint Francois Mountains, at the eastern end of the crest of the dome. Only in these mountains have the sedimentary rocks been sufficiently eroded away so that the underlying igneous rocks are exposed. They form the rounded, knoblike peaks of an old mountain range. The peaks project, in isolation or in clusters, between 230 and 300 m (750 and 1,000 ft) above the surrounding sedimentary basins. One of these knobs, Taum Sauk Mountain, reaches 540 m (1,772 ft) above sea level and is the highest point in Missouri. However, the Saint Francois Mountains area is not generally as rugged as some of the lower, stream-dissected areas.
Before the time of white settlers, forests covered most of the Ozark Upland. These forests consisted of many species of trees, most of which were deciduous hardwoods. Oaks were the most widespread. Mixed with the hardwoods were stands of softwoods, including cedar and pine. They were minor elements in the forest except in the southeast, where pines locally made up a large proportion of the timber. In most areas the forest was relatively open, with abundant grasses growing among the trees, and could be considered a woodland or savanna. In the west the forest was thinner than in the east and was interspersed with large areas of prairie grasses. Almost all of this Ozark forest is gone, but large areas are covered with small second-growth timber and scrub. In national and state forests and other managed lands the forest has returned in dense stands.
A portion of the broad Gulf Coastal Plain that extends across the South from Texas to Florida also extends northward into southeastern Missouri. This section is known as the Mississippi Alluvial Plain or simply as the Southeastern Lowland. It is also called the Bootheel because of its shape.
The Southeastern Lowland is the lowest, flattest, wettest, and most fertile part of Missouri. Its flat surface seems almost featureless to the observer, although isolated ridges stand from 3 to 60 m (10 to 200 ft) above the level plain. This lowland rises less than 120 m (400 ft) above sea level in the north and less than 90 m (300 ft) in the south. The lowest point in Missouri, at 70 m (230 ft), is in the Southeastern Lowland where the Saint Francis River exits the state. Before settlement much of the region was covered with standing water and a dense, swampy forest. It is now largely cleared and artificially drained. The Southeastern Lowland was the focus of some of the highest magnitude earthquakes in U.S. history. In 1811 and 1812 several earthquakes of magnitudes above 8 on the Richter Scale shook the region around New Madrid, causing some lands to sink, others to rise, and affected the course of the Mississippi River. The threat of severe earthquakes continues in the region.
|B||Rivers and Lakes|
Missouri lies in the drainage basin of the Mississippi River, which forms the state’s eastern boundary. The Missouri River, which forms the state’s northwestern boundary, turns east at Kansas City, crosses the state to a point north of St. Louis, and empties into the Mississippi.
The Northern Plains are drained by the Missouri and by its tributaries the Chariton and Grand rivers. The Osage River flows eastward through the Osage Plains and northern Ozarks and empties into the Missouri River. The Gasconade River and the Meramec River also drain the northern Ozarks. In the southern Ozarks are found the White, Current, Black, and Saint Francis rivers. The Ozarks also contain more than 10,000 freshwater springs. Much of the flow of the rivers enters the channels by springs. The largest is Big Spring near Van Buren.
Maintaining channels of sufficient depth for navigation on Missouri’s two principal rivers has not been easy. The rivers tended to shift their courses, and the volume of water in the riverbeds could vary tremendously from season to season. The gravest danger from these rivers today is that of floods, which destroy farmland both by carrying away topsoil and by depositing unwanted sand. Structures and roads may also be destroyed. Numerous flood control projects in the form of levees have been undertaken on these rivers. Missouri suffered the most from the Great Flood of 1993. Record or near-record flood crests were set along the Mississippi and Missouri rivers. The severity of the flood has prompted national reevaluation of the goals and methods of river management in the United States.
Some of the most ambitious water projects, however, have been undertaken on the smaller Ozark rivers. The damming up of these streams for flood control, electric power generation, and recreation has created Missouri’s major lakes. These lakes have become popular resorts.
The lakes have been created in three general areas. In the northwestern Ozarks are Lake of the Ozarks and Truman Lake on the Osage River, Stockton Lake on the Sac River, and Pomme de Terre Lake, on the Pomme de Terre River. Lake of the Ozarks is large, with about 2,210 km (about 1,375 mi) of twisting shoreline following the valleys of the Osage River and several of its tributaries. In the southwestern corner of Missouri and in adjacent Arkansas a series of dams on the White River have formed Table Rock Lake, Lake Taneycomo, and Bull Shoals Lake. A dam in Arkansas on the North Fork of the White River has formed Norfolk Lake, which extends into Missouri. In the southeastern Ozarks are two smaller reservoirs, Wappapello, on the Saint Francis River, and Clearwater, on the Black River. In northeastern Missouri is Mark Twain Lake on the Salt River, and in northwestern Missouri is Smithville Lake on the Little Platte River. There are many small reservoirs elsewhere in the state. Most of them have been designed for residential developments, municipal water supplies, recreational purposes, and for the preservation of wildfowl.
The climate throughout Missouri is humid. Summers are hot. July temperatures over the state range between 24° and 27°C (76° and 80°F). The average July day reaches a high of 32°C (90°F) or higher and a low of between 18° and 21°C (65° and 70°F). Heat waves with temperatures above 38°C (100°F) are common. The highest official temperature of 48°C (118°F) was recorded in 1954. Hot weather lasts from June to September. Most of the state has a frost-free growing season from April into October.
Winter temperatures vary considerably more among different parts of the state than summer temperatures. The average January temperature is about -4°C (about 24°F) in the most northerly areas and between 2°and 3°C (36° and 38°F) in the extreme south. The typical January day in the north ranges between a low of -9°C (16°F) and a high of 2°C (36°F). In the south it ranges between -2° and 9°C (28° and 48°F). However, the weather is quite variable. In the depth of winter in any part of the state there may be warm days above 10°C (50°F) and sometimes even above 16°C (60°F). They may be followed by cold waves in which the temperature drops to -18°C (0°F) and below. The lowest official temperature of -40°C (-40°F) was recorded in 1905. All of the state except the southeast experiences some temperatures below -18°C (0°F) during winter, but cold snaps do not last very long.
The average annual rainfall in Missouri ranges from about 860 mm (about 34 in) in the northwestern corner of the state to just over 1,270 mm (50 in) in the Southeastern Lowland. In the summer, however, the northwest is for a few months the wettest part of the state. Summer precipitation tends to occur in short intense thunderstorms, while winter precipitation occurs as rain, sleet, or snow. Northern Missouri receives about 510 mm (about 20 in) of snow during winter. The south averages about 250 mm (about 10 in) of snowfall during winter.
Missouri’s regions have a great variety of soils. After the retreat of the glaciers the original surface of the Northern Plains was covered by deposits of wind-blown silt known as loess. From loess, soils of exceptional fertility have formed. The loess deposits were thickest near the Missouri and Mississippi rivers, especially near the Missouri. In other areas, where the loess deposits were thin, erosion has removed the loess, and the soils are not as productive as those of the river lands. The surface materials of northern Missouri today are the result of soil processes.
Soils in the Osage Plains have been formed by decomposition of the underlying rocks, mainly shales. They are only moderately fertile. Over large areas the value of the soils has been decreased by the existence of an impermeable hardpan layer slightly below the surface. The hardpan hinders percolation of water downward through the soil in rainy periods and upward in dry periods. It thus accentuates both drought and saturation conditions. A hardpan layer is commonly found in level regions, for example, in the more level sections of the Northern Plains of Missouri.
Ozark soils tend to be very poor. Enormous quantities of chert or flint are present in the soils, and many of the dominant limestone and dolomite rock formations have bits and nodules of chert imbedded in them. When the surface of these rocks decomposes to form soil, the chert, which resists decomposition, is left as loose bits of hard rock scattered through the soil. Some areas are almost completely mantled with chert. In other areas it is less prominent, or even absent. The soils near the Missouri and Mississippi rivers are the most productive. The Southeastern Lowland has alluvial soils formed from river deposits that are highly fertile.
Forests cover 32 percent of Missouri’s land area. Most of the forestland is in the Ozarks or river valleys of the state. Flowers native to the state include the violet, anemone, buttercup, wild rose, phlox, aster, columbine, and goldenrod. The wild grape, ivy, and honeysuckle are native vines. Bluegrass, though not native, is widespread.
Missouri is known for its rich biological diversity in both plants and animals. This diversity is due to the state’s central position in the United States and the river connections with other regions that have allowed species to migrate into the state during climate changes of the past. Wild animals found in Missouri include the deer, squirrel, opossum, raccoon, rabbit, and skunk. The robin, bluebird, wood thrush, cardinal, blackbird, oriole, meadowlark, owl, and crow are native birds, as are the hawk, quail, wild turkey, and dove. Native fish include the bass, crappie, pike, perch, catfish, buffalo fish, sturgeon, carp, and sunfish. Poisonous snakes include the rattlesnake and the copperhead.
Missouri’s environmental protection programs are managed by the state department of natural resources. State and federal land-management agencies and private organizations have vigorous programs to protect and restore examples of native ecosystems. Prairie State Park, for example, consists of native bluestem prairie, with bison, that once covered one-third of Missouri. Big Oak Tree State Park preserves a portion of the native swamp forest of southeastern Missouri. The state department of conservation has also been highly successful in rebuilding populations of deer, turkey, otter, and other species.
In 2006 Missouri contained 26 hazardous waste sites given a national priority for cleanup due to their severity or proximity to people. The total toxic chemicals emitted into the environment was reduced by 6 percent in the period 1995–2000.
One of the state’s most notable environmental problems came to light in the early 1980s, when high concentrations of the deadly chemical dioxin were discovered in Times Beach and at some 30 other sites across eastern Missouri. The properties in the entire town were purchased and the residents moved, and Times Beach no longer exists. Work continues to detoxify the site.
Air quality in Missouri has improved since 1970, although some problems remain, especially in the St. Louis and Kansas City urban areas. While air quality is improving, federal standards for carbon monoxide, ozone, and particulates are sometimes exceeded in certain areas, and there are high levels of airborne lead and acids in some areas.
Severe water quality problems are in the north and the southwest, where streams have been contaminated by acid runoff from abandoned coal mines. Both the Missouri and the Mississippi rivers have been polluted by municipal sewage discharges, agricultural runoff, and industrial chemical releases. Since the 1980s, permits have been required for all discharges into those rivers and standards set, so that in the mid-1990s many discharges exceed the waters of the rivers themselves in water quality.
Missouri is one of the nation’s leading agricultural states. As recently as 1940 more Missourians were employed in agriculture than in manufacturing. After 1940, however, manufacturing, which had been established early at St. Louis, developed rapidly, as did the various services required by the rapidly growing urban areas. Agricultural growth during the same years was substantial, although the role of agriculture in the overall economy underwent a relative reduction. Many farms on the poorer soils of the Ozark Plateau were abandoned, but the region has since become an important tourist attraction. Today Missouri is one of the major manufacturing and commercial states of the Midwest.
In 2006 Missouri’s labor force totaled 3,032,000 people. The largest share of those, some 36 percent, were employed in the diverse service sector, doing jobs such as working in hospitals or restaurants. Another 20 percent were employed in wholesale or retail trade; 11 percent in manufacturing; 16 percent in federal, state, or local government, including those in the military; 18 percent in finance, insurance, or real estate; 20 percent in transportation or public utilities; 5 percent in construction; 3 percent in farming (including agricultural services), forestry, or fishing; and only 0.2 percent in mining. In 2005, 12 percent of Missouri’s workers were unionized.
In 2005 there were 105,000 farms in Missouri, the second largest number among the states after Texas. The number of small and part-time farms in Missouri is increasing, as is the number of large farms, including those run by corporations. On the decline is the number of mid-sized farms. Some 45 percent of the farms had annual sales of more than $10,000. Many of the operators of farms in Missouri held additional jobs off their farms. In 2005 farmland occupied 12.2 million hectares (30.1 million acres), or two-thirds of the state’s land area. Crops accounted for 44 percent of Missouri’s land area, while pasture and rangeland occupied another 15 percent.
In 1996 Missouri ranked 16th among the states in income from all farm sales. Livestock and animal products accounted for just more than one-half of farm income. Meat animals such as hogs, beef cattle, broilers (young chickens used for food), and turkeys accounted for one-quarter of all farm sales. Soybeans were the leading crop in terms of sales, accounting for one-fifth of farm income. Corn, hay, cotton lint, winter wheat, alfalfa, and sorghum grain were also important crops.
Much of Missouri’s corn, sorghum grain, and hay is fed to livestock on the farm rather than sold. Corn, for example, is often the leading crop in terms of quantity produced, but because most of it is fed to livestock, it usually ranks behind soybeans in cash sales.
|A1||Patterns of Farming|
The Southeastern Lowland is the most productive region of Missouri. All of the state’s cotton and rice and much of its soybeans and wheat come from this area. Many of the farmers in some counties are tenants, and farms tend to be small. The productivity of the land contrasts strikingly with the poverty of many of the people.
The other outstanding agricultural region of the state is the western part of Missouri’s Northern Plains. This belt of river-bordering hills, known as the Loess Hills, parallels the course of the Missouri River from the northwestern corner of the state to the point in central Missouri where the river intersects the Ozark Upland. Despite the rough terrain the loess-derived soils and the adjacent alluvial soils are extremely fertile, and there is more farmed and cultivated land, relative to total area, than in most parts of Missouri. Farms in this area tend to be larger than the state average, and sales and income of the individual farmer also tend to be higher.
Missouri’s two main areas of intermediate agricultural productivity are the Osage Plains and the central and eastern portions of the Northern Plains. In these areas, which are known principally for livestock production, the soils tend to be less suitable for row crops than in the Southeastern Lowlands or in the Loess Hills. Also, parts of the Northern Plains, notably near the Chariton River, are so dissected that the amount of land level enough for cultivation is severely limited. However, such difficulties by no means make these areas unproductive.
Another area that is intermediate in agricultural productivity is the Springfield Plateau in southwestern Missouri. This is the main dairy-farming region of Missouri. Much of Missouri’s dairy production comes from within a 100-km (60-mi) radius of Springfield. Even within this area, however, production of meat animals is almost as important as that of dairy products. The emphasis on dairy farming is a result of the poor soils, which are often better for pasture than for crops. Compared to the meat-producing plains areas, farms on the Springfield Plateau tend to be small, and the average income is lower.
Agricultural productivity is low in the interior of the Ozark Upland. Poor soils are the major handicap, and in some areas steep slopes are another. In most parts of the upland the land is not farmed at all. Where there are farms, only a small proportion of the land is cultivated. Unimproved natural pasture is likely to account for much of the farmland, and woodlands are often used for pasture. Farms in the Ozark Upland are not necessarily small, but production on them is low compared to the areas involved. The main product is feeder cattle, which are sold to farmers for fattening in areas where feed is relatively abundant. Part-time farming is especially common in the Ozarks. The earnings of farmers in the Ozark region are usually meager, although the farms themselves are about average size for the state. In the southern Ozarks large cattle ranches are common. Counties in extreme southwestern Missouri concentrate on poultry, which is even more developed in adjacent northwestern Arkansas.
Missouri is one of the leading states in the production of charcoal, walnut and red cedar logs and lumber, barrel staves, oak flooring, and wooden pallets. In the thinly populated Ozark Upland, wood industries are a major source of employment and income. There, a host of small sawmills and other plants turn out a great variety of products, including hardwood lumber, flooring, railroad ties, pallets, barrel staves, posts, handles, and charcoal. Many farmers in the Ozarks sell their timber to lumber mills and are employed part-time by the mills. The Ozark forests also contribute to the region’s economy by providing an attractive environment for a profitable recreation and tourist industry. The forests are indirectly important economically for watershed management and for preserving and enhancing biological diversity.
Missouri is first in the nation in production of lead. While lead ores are found in scattered locations in the Ozark Upland, the main concentrations and mining areas are in and around the Saint Francois Mountains, near the eastern end of the Ozark crest. The French began producing lead there in the early 1700s, and since the American Civil War (1861-1865) this region has been the foremost center of lead mining in the United States.
Due to its high production of lead, crushed stone, and lime, Missouri ranks among the top ten mining states for nonfuel minerals. Among the minerals quarried or mined in the state is limestone. Quarries in the Ozarks supply commercial lime plants in the southern part of the state as well as cement mills in various areas. In 1997 Missouri ranked first among the states in lime production. Ornamental granite, limestone (marketed under the trade name of marble), and sandstone are quarried in a number of Ozark counties.
Zinc was long mined in the western part of the Ozarks, around the city of Joplin in southwestern Missouri. This region was part of a tri-state mining area that extended into Kansas and Oklahoma. The Missouri section of the area was the first to be exploited on a large scale, and production there has now ceased. However, because zinc is contained in the lead ores mined in the eastern Ozarks, enough zinc is still produced to rank Missouri fourth among the states. Copper and silver are also produced as byproducts of lead smelting.
A number of other minerals also contribute to the Missouri economy. Bituminous coal underlies the Osage Plains and most of the Northern Plains. It is mined at scattered locations, chiefly in the Osage Plains, almost entirely by strip mining coal seams that lie close to the surface. Although reserves are large, thin seams and a high sulfur content have limited production, which has declined significantly since the mid-1980s. Barite, a mineral used in drilling oil and gas wells, is also produced in the state. Although the quantity extracted is relatively small, Missouri was the nation’s third leading barite producer in the late 1990s. Missouri ranks first in the production of refractory, or fire, clays that withstand extremely high temperatures. Small quantities of other minerals, such as common clays and petroleum, are extracted in various parts of the state. Iron-ore deposits are mined in the Ozark Upland. Crushed stone and construction sand and gravel account for the largest share of the value of the mining output.
Missouri is one of the leading manufacturing states west of the Mississippi, with a value added by industry of $45 billion in 2006. Manufacturing is highly diversified. Leading industries are the manufacture of transportation equipment, especially motor vehicles, railroad cars, and aircraft and missiles; the processing of foods, especially malt beverages, soft drinks, meat, poultry and eggs, blended flour, and preserved fruits and vegetables; the production of chemicals, including soaps and detergents, agricultural chemicals, and pharmaceuticals; and printing and publishing. A wide variety of industrial machinery is manufactured in Missouri, including refrigeration and heating equipment, engines, farm machinery, tools and dies, construction machinery, and industrial furnaces. The fabrication of metal into basic parts, especially for construction, occupies many workers.
Manufacturing in Missouri is concentrated in the metropolitan areas centered on St. Louis and Kansas City, although a number of smaller cities have some industry. St. Louis marks the western end of the great manufacturing belt that extends through the Northeastern and North-Central states. St. Louis, together with the part of its metropolitan area that lies in Illinois, accounts for more than half of the total manufacturing employment in the state. This area has long been known for the wide variety of goods it produces. The St. Louis metropolitan area is one of the leading centers for brewing and baking in the country. It is also a leading automobile, aircraft, spacecraft, and missile producing area. Other manufactures are chemicals, primary metals, nonelectrical machinery, fabricated metals, petroleum and coal products, electrical equipment, and stone, clay, and glass products. St. Louis is also a center for the printing and publishing industries. St. Louis is the corporate headquarters of several of the nation’s largest companies.
The Kansas City metropolitan area accounts for more than one-fourth of the state’s industry. Like that of St. Louis, the Kansas City metropolitan area lies in two states. Its industrial structure, although much smaller than that of the St. Louis area, is as diverse. The industries that are important in St. Louis are also significant in Kansas City, with the exception of aircraft manufacturing and petroleum and coal processing. The city is a national center for meat-packing and grain milling, although meat-packing is done largely in the Kansas part of the metropolitan area. Kansas City is one of the national centers for agribusiness.
Of the electricity generated in Missouri in 2005, 90 percent came from steam-driven power plants principally burning coal, 9 percent came from a nuclear power plant, and 1 percent came from hydroelectric power plants. The state’s only nuclear power plant, located near Fulton, began operation in 1984. Among the best known of the hydroelectric plants is Bagnell Dam, built on the Osage River in 1931. It supplies electricity to the St. Louis area. St. Louis also obtains hydroelectric power from the Keokuk, Iowa, and the Taum Sauk dams.
Missouri’s two major cities, St. Louis and Kansas City, are its principal centers of transportation and trade. Both were commercial centers by the time of the Civil War, when the Mississippi River and its tributaries were the principal transportation routes of the central United States. Later the two cities became the major railroad and highway centers for the state.
Missouri has 202,492 km (125,823 mi) of public highways, which ranks it sixth among the states. These roads, which include 1,902 km (1,182 mi) of national interstate highways, enable Missouri and its principal cities to continue playing their historic role as links between the East, West, and Southwest.
St. Louis is the focal point for river transportation and is the nation’s largest inland riverport. The Missouri River has a channel 2.3 m (7.5 ft) deep throughout most of its length, while the Mississippi can be used by riverboats drawing 2.7 m (9 ft).
Many of the country’s largest railroads serve Missouri, and haul principally food products, farm products, and transportation equipment. Railroad track in the state totals 6,634 km (4,122 mi).
The chief airports in the state are in St. Louis in the east and Kansas City in the west. St. Louis was the country’s tenth busiest airport in the mid-1990s and acts as a transportation hub for much of the surrounding region. Missouri has 11 airports, most of them private airfields.
|IV||THE PEOPLE OF MISSOURI|
Missouri had a population of 5,595,211 in 2000, according to the national census. That was 9.3 percent more than in 1990, when the state had a population of 5,117,073. The average population density in 2006 was 33 persons per sq km (85 per sq mi). The density is lowest in the rugged central portion of the Ozark Upland and in the rolling farmlands of the north.
Whites constitute 84.9 percent of the population and blacks 11.2 percent. Nearly three-fifths of the state’s black population lives within the city boundaries of Kansas City or St. Louis. Asians are 1.1 percent of the people, Native Americans 0.4 percent, Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders 0.1 percent, and those of mixed heritage or not reporting race 2.3 percent. Hispanics, who may be of any race, are 2.1 percent of the population.
Some 69 percent of the Missouri population lived in urban areas in 2000. The principal urban areas are centered on St. Louis in the east and Kansas City in the west. St. Louis had a 2005 population of 344,362. The limits of St. Louis proper were set in 1876, and St. Louis has not annexed any land since then, but it is the center of a metropolitan region with a population of 2.8 million, including nearby Illinois communities. In the early 1980s, Kansas City overtook St. Louis in population, becoming the state’s largest city. Kansas City had 444,965 inhabitants in 2005. The entire Kansas City metropolitan area, including Kansas City, Kansas, and its suburbs, had 2 million people in 2006. Other large Missouri cities are Springfield, in the south, with 150,298 inhabitants in 2005, and Independence, a suburb of Kansas City, with 110,208. Several smaller cities lie on or near the major transportation lines between the two metropolitan centers. Among them are Jefferson City, which is the state capital, with 39,062 inhabitants, and Columbia, with a population of 91,814. The principal city in the southwest is Joplin with 47,183 inhabitants. In the northwest is Saint Joseph with a population of 72,661. The Southeastern Lowland has a number of small urban communities. The most thinly populated and most rural sections of Missouri are the Ozark Upland and the north central section of the Northern Plains near Iowa.
The mean population center of the United States moved into Missouri from Illinois in the 1980 census. In 1990 it was located in the northern Ozarks, near Steelville; in 2000 the center was near Edgar Springs in Phelps County. The mean center of population is the point at which a rigid map of the United States would balance if identical weights were placed on the map at the location of every person.
Protestant denominations, including Baptists, Methodists, and Lutherans, predominate in Missouri. The state has large numbers of Roman Catholics, who represent about one-fifth of all religious adherents. The Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, a Mormon group, has its headquarters in Independence. The Church of the Nazarene has its international headquarters in Kansas City, the international headquarters of the Assemblies of God is in Springfield, and the national headquarters of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod is in Clayton, near St. Louis (see Lutheranism).
|V||EDUCATION AND CULTURAL INSTITUTIONS|
The first schools in the area that is now Missouri were opened by French settlers at St. Louis in the latter part of the 18th century. The state constitution of 1820 provided for a statewide public school system, but little came of that provision. The nation’s first tax-supported kindergarten was opened in St. Louis in 1873, adopting an education method which had been viewed as a radical concept a few years earlier. Missouri now requires that all children ages 7 to 16 enroll in school. Some 13 percent of those children attend private schools. Also permitted and growing in popularity is home-schooling, in which children are taught in a structured manner in the home, usually by parents.
In the 2002–2003 school year Missouri spent $8,600 on each student’s education, compared to a national average of $9,299. There were 13.9 students for every teacher (the national average was 15.9). Of those in the state who were older than 25, 85 percent had a high school diploma.
The University of Missouri has campuses at Columbia, Rolla, Kansas City, and St. Louis. The Columbia campus, founded in 1839, was the first state university west of the Mississippi. The state also supports regional state colleges and universities at Cape Girardeau, Joplin, Kirksville, Maryville, Saint Joseph, St. Louis, Springfield, and Warrensburg. Lincoln University, originally established in 1866 for blacks, is located at Jefferson City. The state helps fund a system of junior, community, and technical colleges.
Missouri’s private educational institutions include military schools, junior colleges, four-year colleges, and specialized schools for the study of art and theology. Two well-known universities in the state, Washington University and St. Louis University, both in St. Louis, are privately administered. In 2004–2005 Missouri had 33 public and 92 private institutions of higher learning.
The Missouri State Library, housed in Jefferson City with the state archives, is the official library agency of the state. Specialized collections in Missouri include those of the State Historical Society at Columbia, the Missouri Historical Society and the Mercantile Library in St. Louis, the supreme court at Jefferson City, the scientific collection in the Linda Hall Library in Kansas City, and the documents in the Harry S. Truman Library at Independence. The Pius XII Memorial Library at St. Louis University contains microfilm copies of documents in the Vatican Library. The University of Missouri-Columbia, Washington University, and St. Louis University have major research libraries. Public libraries annually circulate an average of 7.7 books per state resident.
The St. Louis Art Museum and Kansas City’s Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art both house excellent collections, and the museum of the Missouri Historical Society in St. Louis displays a notable collection relating to Charles Lindbergh’s solo transatlantic flight in 1927 in his monoplane, The Spirit of St. Louis. In the state capitol building in Jefferson City are a large museum and a mural collection on the history and resources of the state. The Negro Leagues Baseball Museum in Kansas City houses a collection of memorabilia related to the black baseball league that played while baseball was segregated.
The state’s newspaper history goes back to 1808, when Joseph Charless founded the Missouri Gazette at St. Louis. Later in the century, Joseph Pulitzer established the much-respected St. Louis Post-Dispatch. In 1908 the world’s first school of journalism was established at the University of Missouri.
In 2002 Missouri residents had a choice of 45 daily newspapers. Among the leading dailies were the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the Kansas City Star, the Springfield News-Leader, the eastern Jackson County Examiner, the Joplin Globe, and the Daily Capital News and Post-Tribune (Jefferson City).
In 2002 Missouri had 82 AM radio stations, 123 FM radio stations, and 33 television stations. The state’s first radio station, WEW, at St. Louis University, began broadcasting in 1921.
St. Louis and Kansas City are the cultural centers of the state. The St. Louis Symphony, one of the oldest symphony orchestras in the nation, was founded in 1800. The Kansas City Symphony was organized in 1933. Kansas City played a major role in the development of jazz music, and St. Louis in the development of blues music.
|VI||RECREATION AND PLACES OF INTEREST|
Missouri has much to offer the tourist. It has scenic diversity as well as a colorful history. Some towns retain their early architecture. Sainte Genevieve has the largest collection of French Creole architecture in the United States. Altenburg, Westphalia, Hermann, and other small towns along the Missouri River still retain much of their original German character.
Principal attractions include the two largest cities—Kansas City and St. Louis—and the Ozark region, with its many scenic gorges, caverns, and large reservoirs, which provide ample opportunities for recreational activities. Cities in the Ozarks of particular interest to tourists include Branson, which offers country-music concerts by a variety of performers, and Silver Dollar City, which is a replica of a late-19th century Ozark mining town.
The Jefferson National Expansion Memorial Historic Site, extending along the St. Louis riverfront, includes the Gateway Arch, which has a sweeping curve that reaches 192 m (630 ft) above the city and commemorates the westward expansion of the United States; the Old Courthouse, site of the Dred Scott slave trial; and the Lisa Warehouse, the oldest building in the city. The George Washington Carver National Monument, near Diamond in southwest Missouri, marks the birthplace of the famous scientist. Wilson’s Creek National Battlefield, near Springfield, preserves the site of an important American Civil War battle for control of Missouri. The Harry S. Truman Home and the Truman Library and Museum, both in Independence, contain exhibits on the life and career of the 33rd president. The Mark Twain National Forest provides recreation areas and wildlife refuges in southern Missouri. The Ozark National Scenic Riverways, the first national riverway, protects the free-flowing Current and Jacks Fork rivers and a number of caves and springs.
|B||State Parks and Forests|
Many of the natural attractions of Missouri are concentrated in the Ozarks. There, state parks have been developed around such scenic features as caves, giant springs, rugged canyons, creeks, and large constructed lakes. Scattered throughout the state are others of the state’s 79 parks and numerous state forests. Among the historic landmarks are the birthplace of Mark Twain in Mark Twain State Park, east of Paris; the Arrow Rock Tavern at Arrow Rock State Historical Site, near Marshall; the Anderson Home, which served as a field hospital for the Union army in the Battle of Lexington in the Civil War, at Lexington; and the boyhood home of General John J. Pershing, at Laclede.
|C||Other Places to Visit|
The Harry S. Truman birthplace in Lamar honors the former president. The Pony Express Stables and the home where Jesse James died may be visited in Saint Joseph. Mark Twain’s boyhood home is now a museum in Hannibal. In Saint Charles the house that served as Missouri’s first capitol is open to visitors. Among the many limestone caverns in the Ozarks is Marvel Cave, where a waterfall pours over a group of limestone formations. The Missouri Botanical Garden in St. Louis, also called Shaw’s Garden, has a large Japanese garden and the Climatron, a geodesic dome. In Fulton is the Winston Churchill Memorial, which commemorates Churchill’s “Iron Curtain” speech of 1946 and the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 with a portion of the wall.
The sweep of life in Missouri is witnessed in the variety of annual events held in the state’s small communities and major cities. Fishing tournaments, rodeos, Native American gatherings, ethnic celebrations, craft shows, and historical reenactments fill the year’s calendar. The festival season begins with one of the nation’s largest Saint Patrick’s Day parades in Kansas City in March. The beginning of the Pony Express and the end of outlaw Jesse James are celebrated in Saint Joseph in April, the same month visitors flock to a championship turkey-calling contest in Kirksville. Hermann holds its German Maifest in May. National Tom Sawyer Days in Hannibal in July includes a fence painting championship for children and culminates with a fireworks show on Independence Day, as do many Fourth of July celebrations across the state. Fair St. Louis, held at the Gateway Arch in St. Louis, is called the nation’s largest Fourth of July Celebration. Sainte Genevieve commemorates its French heritage with Bastille Days celebrations two weeks later. Missouri’s agricultural heritage is showcased in one of the country’s largest state fairs in August in Sedalia. Old Mines relives its French Creole past by serving croquignolles amid old log cabins at its Fête d’Automne in October. For more than a century outdoor lights have dazzled holiday shoppers in Kansas City’s Country Club Plaza.
Missouri has many professional sports teams, including the St. Louis Cardinals and Kansas City Royals (baseball), the Kansas City Chiefs and the St. Louis Rams (football), and the St. Louis Blues (ice hockey). A greater variety of spectator sports are provided by the state’s colleges and universities.
Facilities for sports are widely available in Missouri. Interest in horse shows and racing dates back to the period of early settlement by Kentuckians and Virginians. Among game hunted are quail, pheasant, doves, deer, wild turkey, raccoon, squirrel, and rabbit. Thousands of miles of streams ranging from creeks to broad rivers and thousands of lakes ranging from farm ponds to huge reservoirs make every sort of fishing possible. Bass, catfish, bluegill, perch, trout and jack salmon are plentiful. Canoeing and float fishing, or fishing from a boat while it slowly floats downstream, are popular in the Ozarks.
Missouri’s present constitution was adopted in 1945 and is the fourth since Missouri became a state in 1821. It has provisions for initiative and referendum. A constitutional amendment may be proposed by a majority vote of each house of the state legislature or by initiative, and it must be ratified by a majority vote of the electorate.
Missouri’s governor is elected for a term of four years and may not serve more than a total of two terms. The lieutenant governor, secretary of state, attorney general, state treasurer, and state auditor are also elected for terms of four years.
The legislature, called the General Assembly, consists of a Senate of 34 members, elected for four years, and a House of Representatives of 163 members, elected for two years. The General Assembly meets in annual sessions beginning in January.
The court system consists of a Supreme Court with seven members, three courts of appeals, and circuit courts. Each county has one or more magistrate courts and a probate court. The governor appoints Supreme Court justices and appellate judges from a list of candidates supplied by a nonpartisan commission. Once appointed judges must be approved by voters in the next general election; once approved they complete a 12-year term. Circuit court judges serve six-year terms, and probate and magistrate court judges serve four years.
Missouri is divided into 114 counties and the city of St. Louis. Most counties are governed by elected county commissions consisting of three commissioners. These commissions administer county taxation, property, and roads. Most cities, including St. Louis, have a mayor-council type of government. Kansas City and others have a council and city manager.
Missouri elects two U.S. senators and nine members of the U.S. House of Representatives. The state casts 11 electoral votes in presidential elections.
In the prehistoric period, successive stages of human development took place in Missouri. Nomadic hunters, called Paleo-Indians by archaeologists, were present perhaps as early as 12,000 years ago. Divided into small bands, they ranged widely over the land, hunting many now-extinct animals. The next stage, called Archaic, lasted from about 10,000 to 3,000 years ago. In this period, woven baskets and highly specialized stone tools abounded. Following that was the Woodland culture, which saw the introduction of pottery and agriculture. Southeastern Missouri contains many artifacts and relics of the culture called Mississippians or Mound Builders, a village society that started about ad 800.
The peoples who inhabited the area during the era of exploration and settlement were seminomads who were attracted by the forests and prairies in the lower part of the Missouri River valley, which abounded with game. They lived about half the year in villages, growing crops. Most powerful and numerous were the Osage, who lived along the Osage River. North of the Missouri lived the Otoe, and a village of the Missouria people was located at the confluence of the Grand and Missouri rivers. The name of the village was applied to the people, the river, and finally the state. The Iowa and, later, the united Sac (Sauk) and Fox drove out the other groups by the early 19th century. Some Shawnee and Delaware were temporarily moved to Missouri by the Spanish, but all of the Native Americans had been forced out of the state by 1837.
|B||European Exploration and Settlement|
European discovery, exploration, and settlement of the Mississippi and Missouri valleys were accomplished by French trappers, traders, and missionaries. In 1673 explorers Jacques Marquette and Louis Joliet boated down the Mississippi River and charted it past the mouth of the Missouri. René-Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle, claimed the entire Mississippi drainage area, including the Missouri Valley, for France in 1682, naming it Louisiane (in English, Louisiana). By 1700 the mission of Saint Francis Xavier was established on the site of modern St. Louis. In 1714 Étienne Véniard de Bourgmont explored the Missouri River, and nine years later he built Fort Orleans near the mouth of the Grand. Antoine de La Mothe, Sieur de Cadillac, governor of Louisiana, explored the lead region of southeastern Missouri in 1715, and Captain Charles Claude du Tisne made an overland journey into Osage territory in 1719.
The lead deposits led the French to found Sainte Genevieve, the first permanent white settlement in Missouri, about 1750. In 1763 the Maxent and Laclède Company of New Orleans obtained a monopoly of the fur trade in the Missouri Valley. Pierre Laclède and his party, including 14-year-old René Auguste Chouteau, selected the site of St. Louis for their trading post. Early in 1764, under Chouteau’s guidance, settlers began clearing land for the village. A few months later, news arrived that France had ceded Louisiana to Spain. Don Pedro Piernas, the first Spanish governor, reached St. Louis in 1770 and made it the capital of the district of Upper Louisiana.
|C||The Revolutionary Period|
During the American Revolution (1775-1783), the French and Spanish in St. Louis openly sympathized with the United States against Great Britain and aided U.S. Lieutenant Colonel George Rogers Clark, who fought the British nearby in present-day Indiana. This led to an attack on the town in 1780 by a British and Native American force, but the invaders were beaten.
When the war ended in 1783 and the Illinois country on the other side of the Mississippi was ceded to the United States, many of the French settlers of Illinois moved into Upper Louisiana. Anxious to make the territory self-supporting, the Spanish government encouraged immigration from the United States, going so far as to offer settlers Spanish citizenship and free land. Between 1795 and 1804, hundreds of Kentuckians, Tennesseans, Virginians, and Carolinians took advantage of the offer. Among them was the famed pioneer Daniel Boone, who lived in the Femme Osage region of Saint Charles and served as a syndic, or frontier judge.
In 1787 the Congress of the United States passed the Northwest Ordinance, which provided for the organization of territory ceded from Great Britain, including the Illinois country, and prohibited slavery in these territories. However, west of the Mississippi, the Spanish government welcomed slavery, thus inducing Southerners who wanted to expand the institution of slavery to settle in Missouri.
|D||The 19th Century|
By 1804 the population of Missouri exceeded 10,000. The French ruler Napoleon Bonaparte, who had forced Spain to return Louisiana to France in 1800, sold it to the United States in 1803 (see Louisiana Purchase). However, the Spanish remained in authority in St. Louis until 1804, when U.S. Army Captain Amos Stoddard took over the government. Congress organized Upper Louisiana as the Louisiana Territory in 1805. St. Louis remained the capital. General James Wilkinson, the first governor, was unpopular, and in 1807 he was replaced by the well-known explorer Captain Meriwether Lewis.
On June 4, 1812, Missouri Territory, with some privileges of self-government, was carved out of Louisiana Territory. It had the same borders as the present state except for the northwestern triangle, which was added in 1837. The next few years saw frequent Native American attacks on outlying settlements, part of a British plan of harassment during the War of 1812 (1812-1815). When peace came, a flood of immigrants poured into the territory, raising the population to nearly 70,000 by 1820. Many settlers came from the South, bringing their slaves. However, in contrast to the plantation life of the South, subsistence farming, lead mining, and trapping were the principal pioneer occupations. Some tobacco and pork were produced and rafted down the Mississippi to New Orleans.
Life in territorial Missouri was characterized by land speculation, gambling, drinking, brawling, and little attention to religion or social amenities. Although many American settlers were essentially honest and industrious, they were often crude and illiterate. The most stable cultural influences came from the old French Catholic families of St. Louis and Ste. Genevieve.
Missouri’s geography made it a natural crossroads between the East and the unexplored West. In 1804 the Lewis and Clark Expedition had set out westward from St. Louis, and later, Zebulon Pike and Stephen Long set out from the same city. These early Western explorers brought back reports of fur-rich country, and before long, trader Manuel Lisa organized the Missouri Fur Company. Soon, St. Louis became the eastern base of the Rocky Mountain Fur Company of Jedediah Smith, William Sublette, James Bridger, and William Ashley, and of the American Fur Company of John Jacob Astor and the Chouteau family.
|D2||The Missouri Compromise|
By 1817 Missourians were lobbying for statehood. Petitions were circulated, and Congress began to consider the issue in 1818. Missouri’s request caused an extended debate over slavery. The institution had long been a sore point in Congress between politicians of the Northern states, who wanted to limit or abolish it, and those of the South, who wanted to preserve it. To maintain harmony, the issue had been avoided as much as possible. Now, however, the Northerners took a stand against extension of slavery into new territories. The Southerners were just as adamant because they wanted to preserve their power in the United States Senate. The seats were evenly divided between North and South, which meant that the South could block bills that threatened its system. However, if all new states were free states, the slave states would soon be a minority in the Senate. Missouri became the test case.
Congressman Henry Clay of Kentucky worked out a solution. Missouri would be allowed to enter the federal Union as a slave state, Maine (a territory that prohibited slavery) would be admitted as a free state, and slavery would be allowed elsewhere in the former Louisiana Territory below Missouri’s southern boundary, latitude 36°30’N. This was the Missouri Compromise of 1820. The admission of one free and one slave state preserved the free-versus-slave balance in Congress, and the demarcation line assured the South that more slave states could be admitted in the future.
Although much more of the new territory was located north of the line than south of it, Southerners felt that few states could be formed from the northern part because explorers Zebulon Pike and Stephen Long had described the area—the Great Plains—as a “great desert.”
On July 19, 1820, Missouri’s constitutional convention approved a document that allowed slavery and prohibited immigration of free blacks to the state. The ban on free blacks was another barrier to admission, because the Constitution of the United States guaranteed that a citizen’s rights in one state could not be withheld in another state. Clay, anxious to save his compromise, secured the promise of the Missouri legislature that it would never enforce that clause of the constitution.
Under the new Missouri constitution, Alexander McNair was elected governor; William H. Ashley, lieutenant governor; and John Scott, U. S. representative. The legislature later chose David Barton and Thomas Hart Benton as the state’s first U.S. senators. Missouri was admitted to the Union as the 24th state on August 10, 1821, by proclamation of President James Monroe, after the legislature passed a declaration that the provision barring free blacks would never be enforced. It was not long, however, before the legislature reneged on its agreement, passing laws restricting free blacks in 1825.
A severe nationwide economic slump following the panic of 1819 created serious problems for the new state. The Bank of St. Louis failed, and confidence in banknotes, supported by Eastern capital, quickly fell. In response, the legislature established loan offices to issue state currency and placed a moratorium on debt repayment. Missourians distrusted banking and paper currency in general and supported national political leader Andrew Jackson, who was a Westerner, a staunch ally of Benton’s, and a champion of hard money (money backed by gold reserves). Jackson’s Democratic Party did well in Missouri elections. In the Senate, Benton urged expansion of the fur trade, protection of overland trails, a free land policy, and other measures that would concentrate political and economic power in the West.
The constitutional convention and the first legislature had met in St. Louis. In 1821 the legislature moved to St. Charles, and in 1826, when a statehouse was completed, it moved to Jefferson City. In its early years, Jefferson City was a village of mud streets, tents, and log houses, where coonskin-capped legislators carried on lively debates on internal improvements and on the relative merits of hard and soft money. In spite of the capital city’s natural importance, it was St. Louis that became the commercial center of the state.
Missouri continued to be the gateway to the Far West. The Santa Fe, Oregon, California, and other overland trails originated in Missouri; Franklin, Westport, Independence, and Saint Joseph became successive staging centers. The lucrative Santa Fe trade brought gold and silver to Missouri, while Oregon’s lush Willamette Valley and California’s gold lured many Americans to and through Missouri. The state’s role in the development of the Rocky Mountain area is reflected in the thousands of Western families who trace their beginnings to Missouri.
St. Louis had long been the supply point for Western expeditions and a port for the increasing river traffic. From the early days its people were a blend of French and Spanish, and to these were rapidly added fur traders, pioneers, French-speaking slaves, and immigrants from abroad. Irish, English, and German immigrants came in great numbers after 1820. Among the early German immigrants were John Sutter, on whose California land the Gold Rush began; Adolphus Busch and Eberhard Anheuser, who helped make brewing a national industry; and Carl Schurz, a writer, journalist, and U.S. senator from Missouri after the Civil War. St. Louis and Kansas City attracted large communities of Italians, Greeks, Poles, and Jews.
Missouri’s growth from 1820 to the Civil War was spectacular. The population increased 18-fold in 40 years, reaching nearly 1.2 million in 1860. Hemp joined tobacco and pork as major cash products of the farms and plantations, and merchandising developed in answer to the demands of the fur and trading companies. By 1860 some important industrial foundations had been laid. Ironworks at Meramec Spring, Springfield, Ironton, and Pilot Knob expanded rapidly as native coal replaced wood and other fuels. Successful steamboat operations on the Missouri and the Mississippi delayed railroad construction until the 1850s. In the decade before the war, the state appropriated $25 million in bonds to promote railroad building. The Pacific Railroad broke ground in 1851, and in 1859 the Hannibal and St. Joseph became the first line to cross the state. In 1858 the Butterfield Overland Mail began operations between Tipton and San Francisco, California, and two years later the first Pony Express rider left St. Joseph for California.
|D6||The Mormon War|
In 1831 Joseph Smith, organizer of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, settled a band of his Mormon followers at Independence. Smith designated Independence as “Zion,” the place to which Jesus Christ would return. Converts flocked into western Missouri.
The Mormons were against slavery and favored immigration of free blacks. Their views soon brought them into conflict with proslavery factions, and they were forced north across the Missouri River into Clay County. Violence continued, and in 1836 the legislature set aside Caldwell County for the Mormons, where they settled and founded the town of Far West. However, some also moved into Davies and Carroll counties, where opposition from their neighbors led to the Mormon War. Governor Lilburn W. Boggs called out the state militia with the order that the Mormons had to be “exterminated or driven from the state.” By April 1839 most Mormons had left Missouri and gone first to Illinois, and later founded a new Zion in Salt Lake City, Utah.
However, to many of Smith’s original followers, Independence was still the Mormon Zion. In 1860 his son Joseph Smith III accepted leadership of the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, who were the largest group of dissident Mormons and still lived largely in the Midwest. He established the headquarters of this body at Independence.
|D7||The Mexican War and the Slavery Question|
Missourians interested in expansion of trade were vigorous supporters of the Mexican War (1846-1848). More than 9,000 Missourians volunteered to fight the Mexicans. The federal generals Stephen Watts Kearny and John C. Frémont (Senator Benton’s son-in-law) and the Missouri volunteer colonels Alexander W. Doniphan and Sterling Price were instrumental in bringing victory to the United States.
In the peace treaty of 1848 Mexico ceded to the United States the vast lands of California and New Mexico. Debate began in Congress about the status of slavery in these new territories. The Missouri legislature directed its Congressional delegation to vote for the protection of slavery in the new territories. Senator Benton displayed great political courage in ignoring these instructions and openly endorsing a ban on slavery. However, he lost his seat in 1850 in a bid for reelection.
In 1854 the Kansas and Nebraska territories were formed out of the northern part of the old Louisiana Territory. Both were wholly above the 1820 compromise line of latitude 36°30’N, in the Great Plains region that had been called a desert. It was clear by now, however, that the plains were fertile farmland and could be divided into several new states. The Southern states saw that they would be in a minority in the Senate if the 1820 line were retained. Because many slaveowners lived in Kansas, the South pressed to have it admitted as a slave state. After much bitter debate, Congress passed the Kansas-Nebraska Act in 1854, repealing the Missouri Compromise and allowing the two territories to decide whether they would be free or slave states.
Almost immediately the Missouri-Kansas border became a battleground, as proslavery and antislavery groups crossed into Kansas to vote in its decisive 1855 election. What was called the Border War ensued, with much destruction and killing in both Kansas and Missouri. Southern sympathizers, led by David Rice Atchison and others, raided antislavery towns on both sides of the border, while opponents of slavery such as John Brown and James Lane ravaged proslavery areas.
The anger of the North over slavery was further aroused by a decision of the Supreme Court of the United States about the status of a Missouri slave, Dred Scott. Scott’s owner had taken him from Missouri to Fort Snelling, in what is now Minnesota, where slavery was banned at the time under the Northwest Ordinance of 1787. In 1846, back in Missouri, Scott sued for his freedom on the grounds that residence in a free territory released him from slavery. The Supreme Court of Missouri, however, ruled in 1852 that upon his being brought back to territory where slavery was legal, he became a slave again. Scott’s lawyers had the case shifted to federal court, then appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court. On March 6, 1857, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled, not only that Scott was not free, but that the U.S. Constitution gave Congress no authority to prohibit slavery anywhere in the territories. Northern condemnation of the decision was furious.
The hostility of Northerners to the Dred Scott Case, which included threats to abolish slavery in the states where it existed, helped convince Southerners of their growing insecurity within the Union. Many came to believe that secession from the Union was the only way to protect what they called “Southern rights,” including the right to own slaves. The presidential election of 1860 brought the issue to a crisis. That year, Abraham Lincoln was elected president as the candidate of the Republican Party, which opposed the spread of slavery. The Southern state of South Carolina had threatened to secede if the Republicans won, and in December 1860 it did so. Other Southern states followed. On February 8, 1861, they set up a confederacy called the Confederate States of America.
In February 1861 the legislature called a state convention to consider Missouri’s relation to the Union. None of the delegates favored immediate secession, but Governor Claiborne F. Jackson was pro-Southern and refused to respond to Lincoln’s call for troops in April 1861, when the American Civil War began. Instead he ordered the state militia to assemble at Camp Jackson in St. Louis. Union Army General Nathaniel Lyon soon marched against the camp and forced its surrender. Agitators attacked the Union troops, who then fired into the crowd, killing several people.
In a last effort to maintain peace, on June 11, Lyon met Jackson in St. Louis, but the conference ended when Lyon would not approve Missouri’s neutrality and Jackson refused to permit Union troop movements in the state. Jackson called for 50,000 volunteers and placed Sterling Price in command of the militia; Lyon then occupied the capital. Jackson and remnants of the legislature fled to Neosho. On June 17, Price’s militia attacked Lyon’s troops at Boonville, but Lyon was victorious. However, at a bloody battle at Wilson’s Creek on August 10, Lyon was killed and his troops routed. Price led his Confederate soldiers to another victory at Lexington the next month.
In October the Neosho government approved Missouri’s secession. However, the state convention set up a provisional government in July 1861, with Hamilton R. Gamble as governor. Largely through Gamble’s diplomacy, Missouri stayed in the Union. Thus it later avoided many of the agonizing problems of Reconstruction, as the restoration of the Union was called. As the war proceeded and the government’s position was consolidated, Confederate strength declined.
A Union Army victory in March 1862 at Pea Ridge, Arkansas, ended the Confederate threat to seize Missouri, but fighting continued in the state in the form of raids and guerrilla action. Confederate guerrilla bands such as that of Captain William Quantrill were particularly difficult to control. Such notorious Missourians as Jesse James, Frank James, and Cole Younger rode with Quantrill. Notable battles included Price’s defeat at Pilot Knob on September 27, 1864, when he lost 1,500 men in less than half an hour, and the Battle of Westport on October 21, 1864, which ended the movement of Confederate troops in Missouri. During the war approximately 110,000 Missourians served with Union forces and nearly 40,000 with the Confederate forces, and more than 1,000 battles and skirmishes took place in Missouri.
|D9||Reconstruction and Postwar Development|
The major issues facing Missourians at the close of the Civil War related to Reconstruction and the rebuilding of the war-torn state. The provisional government of 1861 continued to function, but as early as 1863 it split into factions. A wing of the Republicans, called Radicals, who favored harsh measures gained control of the state government in 1864 and called a constitutional convention. The resulting constitution of 1865 abolished slavery, freeing the 115,000 remaining slaves, promoted public education, and prohibited further commitment of state funds to promotional ventures such as railroads. It also required a test oath to bar former Confederate sympathizers from holding public office, voting, teaching, practicing law, and preaching. The unpopularity of this extremism led to the swift downfall of Radical rule. In 1866 the U.S. Supreme Court declared portions of the test oath unconstitutional, and in the 1869 and 1870 elections a coalition of moderate Republicans and Democrats made Carl Schurz U.S. Senator and Benjamin Gratz Brown governor. In 1872 the Radicals were ousted, and the Democrats gained in strength as the moderate Republicans declined. In 1875 the state approved its third constitution, the second in ten years. It eliminated all hints of reprisals against former Confederates, stipulated that at least 25 percent of the general revenue be used for public education, created commissions to regulate the railroads, placed tax restrictions on local communities, and lengthened the governor’s term to four years.
|D10||Growth and Industrialization|
Missouri, which had the largest population among slave states in 1860, continued its rapid growth after the Civil War. It ranked fifth among the states in population from 1870 to 1900. This growth was principally in the newer inland counties and in the lead mining and zinc mining areas in southwestern Missouri. The mining boom of the 1870s led to the development of Joplin and other smaller towns.
However, progress was not uniform. Nationwide economic slumps in 1873 and 1893 erased the gains made by farmers during economic booms. Also, in some areas, particularly on the western border, the Civil War had caused devastation of farms. The farmers were chronically in debt, and their debtor status was virtually guaranteed by deflation of the dollar, rising costs, and, in some counties, exploitation by the railroads. Foreign immigrants continued to come to the St. Louis and lower Missouri River areas after the war, flooding the labor market and causing wages to fall. Because of the financial difficulties of the farmers and laborers, the Greenback Party and People’s Party enjoyed great popularity in Missouri. The Greenbackers endorsed soft money (paper money whose value was not tied to the price of gold) and the People’s Party endorsed free coinage of silver, both measures that were expected to inflate the dollar and thereby help the farmers and laborers pay off their debts.
But also during this period, industries and the state’s general development were stimulated by the growth of railroads. By 1870 there were 3,200 km (2,000 mi) of track, an increase of almost 250 percent in ten years. Crops could now be transported to distant markets, and livestock could be profitably carried to the new stockyards in St. Louis and Kansas City.
|E||The 20th Century|
After 1905, statewide reform of the government was led by governors Joseph W. Folk and Herbert S. Hadley. Their combined eight-year record included prosecution of Standard Oil Company and other monopolies, passage of direct primary election laws to restrict political machines (organized political groups under the control of strong leaders or factions), and regulation of lobbying, public utilities, child labor, and food and drug production. William T. Harris, later the U.S. commissioner of education, paved the way for education reforms and innovations during his tenure as superintendent of the St. Louis schools, and Frederick D. Gardner was a pioneer in penal reforms. The desire for reform led Missouri in 1904 to vote for Theodore Roosevelt, the first time after Reconstruction that the state voted for a Republican presidential candidate.
The entry of the United States into World War I (1914-1918) checked the reform movement. More than 140,000 Missourians joined the armed forces of the United States.
|E2||Economic Ups and Downs|
At the war’s end most of Missouri was prosperous, although an economic slump in agriculture in 1921 soon ended the prosperity of the farmers. Nevertheless, Missourians launched an extensive road building effort during the 1920s that did what an early slogan demanded, “Get Missouri Out of the Mud.” While farmers suffered, most areas of the economy grew during the 1920s, but beginning with the stock market crash of 1929, the Great Depression spread across the Missouri economy. To offer some relief, state and federal construction programs were begun.
Although emphasizing relief, the state resumed its long-interrupted struggle against political corruption. Despite the direct primary laws, the state still had political machines. An outstanding example in the 1930s was the one run by the boss of the Kansas City Democratic Party, Thomas J. Pendergast. Pendergast’s influence declined after he broke with Governor Lloyd Stark in 1938, but it was not ended until 1939, when Pendergast was sentenced to prison for income tax evasion. One of the most notable products of the Pendergast machine was Harry S. Truman, a Jackson County judge, who was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1934 and elected vice president in 1944. With the death of President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1945, Truman became the first Missourian to serve as president of the United States.
|E4||Missouri After 1940|
More than 450,000 Missourians served with U.S. armed forces during World War II (1939-1945). The war also made demands on Missouri’s minerals, and the production of aircraft brought the state out of the economic despair of the 1930s. Missouri’s McDonnell Aircraft Corporation (subsequently known as McDonnell Douglas and now part of The Boeing Company), one of the state’s chief employers, established itself during the war as a defense contractor.
Missourians approved a fourth state constitution in 1945. This constitution gave labor the right to bargain collectively and largely removed education from political control. The executive department was streamlined, and the tax system was modernized. However, the constitution also segregated the educational system: black and white children were to be educated in separate public schools. This clause remained in effect until the historic 1954 decision of the U.S. Supreme Court, in Brown v. Board of Education, outlawing segregation.
The urbanization and industrialization characteristic of Missouri during the 20th century were accelerated after World War II. Rural counties declined in population, and the metropolitan areas of St. Louis and Kansas City spread for miles into the adjacent countryside. Organized labor became a powerful force in state affairs, peaking in influence during the 1950s and 1960s, but began to decline in the 1970s. A part of the decline was caused by the transformation of the Missouri economy. Manufacturing was replaced by the service sector as the chief employer of labor. Much of the subsistence farming in the Ozarks was replaced by business enterprises associated with recreation, as state and federal programs of conservation and waterpower created huge lakes in the southern half of the state. In the more productive agricultural areas, farm units increased in size and the number of farms and farmers greatly declined.
As Missouri entered the 1980s, social issues remained to be dealt with, including the persistence of racial segregation in the public schools of St. Louis and Kansas City. The high interest rates and recession of the early 1980s caused some hardship, especially among farmers and miners. Missourians were also made aware of serious environmental problems when residents of the town of Times Beach had to abandon their homes because of the dioxin contamination discovered in 1982. Both the state and the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) launched massive cleanup efforts. The state spent more than $40 million on dioxin cleanup, and the EPA built and operated a special dioxin incinerator at Verona. The EPA closed and dismantled its incinerator in 1988.
|E5||Missouri at the End of the Century|
Many of the trends of the 1980s persisted into the 1990s. Efforts to end segregation in Kansas City and St. Louis continued to tax the state’s school funds and led to a U.S. Supreme Court decision, Missouri v. Jenkins, requiring reconsideration of achievement requirements and across-the-board pay raises for Kansas City schools. Changes in racial attitudes on the part of both black and white Missourians made the future of desegregation efforts even more questionable as some black activists called for black-controlled schools as preferable to integrated ones, and many whites expressed dismay at the cost of desegregation attempts in the two cities. Indeed, the results of these efforts satisfied few.
Politically, Democrat Mel Carnahan broke Republican control of the governor’s office in 1992. Republicans Christopher Bond and John Ashcroft had held the governor’s position during the 1980s (both were subsequently elected to the U.S. Senate). Quickly, Carnahan succeeded in getting the Democratically controlled legislature to create a new formula that increased and equalized state support for public elementary and secondary schools. New standards of expectations for student achievement also became a part of the 1993 law.
Many of the difficulties that faced Missourians in the 1990s were the same as in the rest of the nation. The changes in educational policy reflected the ongoing concern about economic trends that increasingly placed greater emphasis on adequate levels of education and training for employment. Competition in a world economy meant that Missouri companies had to produce more efficiently. Important manufacturing firms such as McDonnell-Douglas (now part of The Boeing Company) employed fewer people and became more profitable. Those who remained employed often made more money than before, and those who had to find work in service occupations often received lower wages.
At the same time, public institutions of higher education raised their fees, making it more difficult for many Missourians to continue their schooling. Many middle-class people in both rural and urban Missouri struggled to maintain their standards of living. The number of two-parent families with both parents working increased, leaving children with less parental supervision and with greater dependence on day care centers. Teenage gangs, drive-by shootings, drug use, out-of-wedlock births, and other signs of social breakdown received frequent media attention, not only in St. Louis and Kansas City, but also in Springfield and other medium-sized and rural places.
During the 2000 general election, Carnahan, who had been reelected governor in 1996, ran against Ashcroft for his Senate seat. A few weeks before the election, Carnahan was killed in a plane crash as he traveled to a campaign event. At the time of his death, it was too late to remove his name from the ballot, and thus he remained the Democratic candidate. In November Carnahan won the election posthumously. The new Missouri governor, Democrat Bob Holden, appointed Carnahan’s wife, Jean Carnahan, to fill his seat for a special two-year term. Although Ashcroft lost the election, he was appointed U.S. attorney general by President George W. Bush. At the end of her special two-year term, Carnahan sought election to complete her late husband’s term, but she was defeated by Republican James Talent.
The Republicans recaptured the governor’s mansion in the 2004 elections with the selection of Matt Blunt as governor. The same year Ashcroft resigned as U.S. attorney general.
The history section of this article was contributed by Lawrence O. Christensen. The remainder of the article was contributed by Walter A. Schroeder.