This Missouri State study includes the history of the great state of Missouri and some activities you can do with your kids as you learn about it.
Missouri was a part of the Louisiana Purchase and it’s position along the Mississippi River made it important early on. Settlers began to pour in from the east and very early on they had to pick sides for or against slavery; there was no being lukewarm. Eventually the territory was admitted as a state in 1821 just after the Missouri Compromise, which stated that for every slave state admitted a free state would be admitted, in order to maintain the balance of power. Missouri became a slave state, with a staunch population of dissenters and a free state, Kansas, just across the border. This conflict brought bloodshed to the state long before the Civil War broke out. Missourians actually attacked Kansas abolitionists, issued an official extermination order against abolitionist Mormons, and terrorized anyone who expressed anti-slavery views.
And yet when the Civil War did come, Missouri did not secede, though they did not joint the Union actively either. Thousands of her sons joined the Northern army and thousands joined the Southern; Missouri families were literally torn apart over the issue.
Through all this though, Missouri played an important role in expansion west of the Mississippi. The town of Independence was the jumping off place and last post of civilization before heading out on the Santa Fe and Oregon trails. The Pony Express also began its route in Independence.
Today Missouri produces most of the nation’s lead, has a vibrant agriculture and manufacturing industry, and makes most of its’ money in the service industries, including tourism. People go to Missouri to see the history of the pioneer trails and the Pony Express and to visit Branson, Missouri, home of country music.
- Read Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain, which is set in the little town of Twain’s boyhood – Hannibal, Missouri.
- Color a map of Missouri.
- Visit the Ozark Mountains online and read Where the Red Fern Grows or Summer of the Monkeys, which are both set in the Ozark Mountains.
- Do a report on one of these famous Missouri natives: George Washington Carver, Walt Disney, Walter Cronkite, T.S. Elliot, Langston Hughes, Edwin Hubble, Jesse James, Scott Joplin, John Joseph Pershing, Joseph Pulitzer, Harry S Truman, or Mark Twain.
- Make a poster showing the state symbol, flag, motto, animals and planets and other state facts.
Print, label, and color this Missouri Map using a student atlas as a guide.
- The Ozark Mountains aren’t exactly mountains at all. Learn more about the geology of the area.
- One of the primary basic training bases for the United States military is at Fort Leonardwood in southern Missouri.
- Learn about the Pony Express.
- Learn about the Native tribes that inhabited the Missouri territory before the Americans did.