On Aug. 10, 1821, after the longest and most bitter political controversy the nation had faced to that point, Missouri became the 24th state to enter the Union. In celebration of the 200th anniversary, the University of Missouri’s Kinder Institute on Constitutional Democracy, with the support of the MU History Department, recently entered an alliance of Missouri nonprofits and state government agencies that will develop public education, events, community outreach and scholarly research projects related to the Missouri Bicentennial.
 
The formal partnership, the Missouri Bicentennial Alliance, was recognized at a signing ceremony at the Missouri Governor’s Mansion on Monday. Senator Mike Kehoe presented a legislative resolution declaring Jan. 8, 2018, to be Missouri Bicentennial Alliance Day. Other organizations included the State Historical Society of Missouri, the Missouri Humanities Council and the Missouri Council on History Education.
 
Created in 2015 by a generous gift from the Kinder Foundation, a family philanthropic foundation started by Rich and Nancy Kinder of Houston, Texas, the Kinder Institute supports the research and scholarship of MU faculty, undergraduate and graduate students who seek to explore questions related to the history, theory and practice of constitutional democracy.
 
The Kinder Institute on Constitutional Democracy will provide expertise on early American and political history to the Bicentennial Alliance in two major projects. First, Kinder faculty and graduate and undergraduate students will collaborate to produce the content for the Missouri Humanities Council’s “Struggle for Statehood’ exhibit, which will travel statewide beginning in 2019. Christa Dierksheide, assistant professor of history and former historian at Monticello, will be teaching a spring 2018 “History in the Public” class devoted to the exhibit where students will research and develop content for it as part of their assignments.
 
“This is the kind of project the Institute was created for,” said Jeffrey L. Pasley, professor of history and journalism at MU and associate director of the Kinder Institute. “The Missouri Crisis of 1818-1821 was one of the watershed events of the early 19th century – the end of the founding era and the moment slavery became a national issue for the first time. The Civil War almost started here in Missouri, four decades early. Students, citizens and scholars in our state should know more about how it got started.”
 
Additionally, the Kinder Institute will sponsor a series of scholarly conferences and lectures, culminating in the publication of an edited volume of historical essays on the Missouri Crisis, its origins and its consequences during the Bicentennial year of 2021. Major historians from around the world will be invited to participate in a workshop in Columbia in 2019 that will lead to a series of public lectures in 2020 and finally the publication of a multi-authored book in the Kinder Institute’s Studies in Constitutional Democracy series with University of Missouri Press.
 
“We’re excited that it will be Missourians, including the Kinder Institute, who will get to help put Missouri’s major national moment back on the map of American history,” Pasley said.  
 
Participating MU scholars will include Pasley, Dierksheide and Lawrence Celani, a doctoral candidate who is writing a dissertation related to the Missouri Crisis. Other local contributors include Justin Dyer, professor of political science and director of the Kinder Institute; and Jay Sexton, professor of history and Kinder Institute Chair in Constitutional Democracy. M
Via Press Release 
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