By Joshua van Dereck At the beginning of 1861, Missouri was in turmoil. A slave state since its inception in 1820, Missouri had grown increasingly tied to urban industry. Cotton and tobacco had given way to factories, and transplanted northerners and foreign immigrants were flocking to the cities. The election of Republican Party candidate Abraham Lincoln as president the previous November underscored the potential for armed conflict between northern and southern states. As a vital border state, Missouri was a prize much sought by both sides. St. Louis: a Divided State Governor Claiborne Jackson was among the old guard who felt that Missouri’s destiny lay with the South. Dismayed when a state convention voted to maintain Missouri’s place in the Union, Jackson nevertheless decreed that Missouri would not furnish a single man for what he termed the “unholy crusade” of war against the South. Missourians wanted no part of civil war, and they made their loyalties known by volunteering heavily for service in home guard units, resolving to fight against aggression from either North or South while walking the delicate tightrope of neutrality. In St. Louis, however, belligerent partisans threatened the balance. St. Louis was Missouri’s largest city, and as a prominent trade center it was home to some of the most radical factions. The German immigrant community, 50,000 strong, was staunchly Unionist. Having come to America for the promise of suffrage and personal liberty,


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