March 6, 1820: President James Monroe signed the Missouri Compromise, which admitted Missouri to the Union as a slave state, but Maine and part of Massachusetts as a free state.
March 6, 1857: In a decision that helped lead to the Civil War, the Supreme Court, in its famous "Dred Scott Decision," ruled that neither slaves — nor their descendants — could ever become U.S. citizens. The decision is also acknowledged for the influential role it played in altering the national political landscape: It launched Abraham Lincoln's national political career and ultimately allowed for his election.
More from West Wing Reports...
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- 31 TV shows to watch in 2014
- The sexual politics of Game of Thrones just got enormously worse
- He said he was leaving. She ignored him.
- The hidden reason for the student loan crisis
- Why atheism doesn't have the upper hand over religion
- 14 wonderful words with no English equivalent
- 7 ways to quickly become a master at anything
- What would a U.S.-Russia war look like?
- 18 books to read in 2014
- Which states get screwed worst by the Electoral College?
Subscribe to the Week