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Missouri Colleges

Missouri Colleges


The territory of Missouri played a pivotal role in the debate over slavery that preceded the Civil War.  The Missouri Compromise of 1820 established Missouri as a slave state and Kansas as a free state.  While the compromise came to naught, the state itself remained divided on the issue and supplied troops to both sides during the war.  The state itself remained in the Union.  Large areas of the state were raided by both sides during the war, notably Quantrillís Confederate guerilla forces which included in its ranks Frank and Jesse James.  For decades after the war, into the 1900s, the section of the state that saw the most conflict was known as the Burnt District.  It was in that area that Harry Trumanís family settled and where he was born.


Missouri was historically the jumping off point for the long trek west by settlers seeking land along the frontier.  Both the Santa Fe Trail and the Oregon Trail originated in Independence, Missouri.  Lewis and Clark left from St. Joseph Missouri, which twenty years after their trek became the commercial center for wagons and other traveling gear needed by the families pushing west.


The state is a leading producer of automobiles, auto parts and aerospace hardware.  Its economy is highly diversified, as food processing is its fastest growing industry while St. Louis is home to the nationís biggest brewer.  St. Louis is also a commercial trade center, a role that it has maintained since the state became a hub for settlers moving west and commercial traffic coming down the Missouri River.


The Ozark Mountains are an important geographic characteristic of the state and have also become an important component of a thriving tourist trade.  Branson Missouri is a magnet for bluegrass music fans from all over the nation who also take advantage of the Ozark National Scenic Riverways.  


Mark Twain may remain the stateís most famous export.  He was born and raised in Independence; many of the scenes and stories in Tom Sawyer and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn are drawn from his boyhood there.  In particular, the caves that Tom and Huck visit are caves that Twain (when he was still Sam Clemens) visited in his boyhood.  It was there also that Clemens learned to love the river and became a riverboat deckhand as a young man.   Clemens also joined a Confederate Army unit when the war broke out, lasted about two weeks, and decided that California would be a nice place to visit.


Today the state enjoys a healthy economy and an expanding tourist trade.  People like to visit the state and many decide to stay.  Parts of the Ozarks have become havens for individuals seeking rural quiet and a moderate climate.  St. Louis is a metropolitan area that has spawned large suburban areas.  Since 1940, the cityís population has declined over fifty percent to the 350,000 residents of today.


Washington University and St Louis University are two fine private schools located in the city.  The University of Missouri maintains five campuses, one of which is in St. Louis.  Itís hard to say where the pockets of new industrial opportunity are in Missouri: the relative health of the state indicates that growth is there.  Given the nature of todayís startups, that could be almost anywhere within Missouriís borders.  On the whole, however, it looks and sounds like an interesting place to call home.
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