Missouri has played a pivotal role in American history. In 1803 Missouri became a territory of the United States after President Thomas Jefferson bought the land from France in the Louisiana Purchase. During the gold rush, as many Americans clamored to move to California and Oregon in hopes of fame and fortune, Missouri was the marker for the start of that perilous journey west. In 1821, Missouri became the 24th state in the Union; however it did not join without becoming a centerpiece of division. During this time Congress was utterly divided on the issue of slavery, and because of population increases in the Midwest, more and more territories became eligible to apply for statehood. The Missouri Compromise became an imperfect solution to this division. Despite this initial controversy, Missouri elected to remain in the Union and emancipated all slaves within its borders during the Civil War.
Missouri today stands as the 18th most populated state and the 21st largest in square miles. The Show-Me state has been the home to many notable historical figures, both past and present, including Daniel Boone, Walter Cronkite, Thomas Hart Benton, Walt Disney, Ulysses S. Grant, Langston Hughes, Jesse James, Satchel Paige, J.C. Penney, Mark Twain, Yogi Berra, Dick Van Dyke, and most notably, our 33rd President, Harry S. Truman. Our two largest cities, Kansas City and St. Louis, are centers of culture, art, music, and architecture. Our farms are some of the top providers of rice and soybeans for the entire nation. It is a place for all walks of life, and our regional and cultural diversity makes Missouri one of the best representations of American society. I am proud to serve you as a representative from the great state of Missouri.