Originally acquired as part of the Louisiana Purchase, Missouri was admitted as the 24th state in 1821 as part of the Missouri Compromise. A border state with significant southern and midwestern influences, it has long been the symbolic center of the United States; both the Pony Express routes and the Oregon Trail set out from Missouri, which was the gateway to the western frontier in the 19th century. Today, it is both the mean center of the American population and the most famous bellwether state, considered a microcosm of the ...

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