Anonymous asked in Science & MathematicsGeography · 1 decade ago

Why does the Missouri state boundry include its "boot heel" which logically would be part of Arkansas?

The boot heel is that part of southeast Missouri projecting below the westerly state boundry. Also would like to know how the "pandhandle" became part of Oklahoma.

7 Answers

  • bpiguy
    Lv 7
    1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    These are two really good questions, and they got me to do the research. The answer for Oklahoma will be pretty long, but first, let me give you a short answer for each.

    Regarding Missouri's Bootheel, "the story is that John Hardeman Walker, a wealthy, energetic, politically-oriented plantation owner living [in the Bootheel area] was intent on being included in the new state [of Missouri]. His influence ... tipped the scales, and the Missouri territorial legislature included the plantation in the new state by defining the southern boundary" as the 36th parallel from the Mississippi to the St. Francis River, and latitude 36 degrees, 30 minutes elsewhere.

    Arkansas had virtually no say in the matter, since Arkansas remained a territory, not a state.

    The Oklahoma Panhandle originally belonged to Texas, but was ceded back to the federal government as "No Man's Land," and eventually included as part of Oklahoma. Texas, a slave state, didn't want it because slavery was prohibited above 36 degrees, 30 minutes -- the present boundary between Texas and the Oklahoma Panhandle.

    There's more to this interesting story, all involving parallels, meridians, and politics. The Oklahoma Panhandle is bounded on the east and west by the 100th and 103rd meridians -- about 165 miles apart -- and on the south and north by 36 degrees, 30 minutes, and 37 degrees -- about 35 miles apart -- so it's about 5740 square miles.

    Back in the 1600s, the king of England established 36 degrees, 30 minutes as the boundary between Virginia and North Carolina. That border was supposed to stretch from the Atlantic to the Pacific. Later, that line was used as the border between Kentucky and Tennessee.

    In 1820, when Missouri was ready to become a state, Congress passed the Missouri Compromise, under which Maine was admitted as a free state and Missouri a slave state, but with the stipulation that slavery would otherwise be prohibited in territories north of 36 degrees, 30 minutes.

    In 1836, Texas gained independence from Mexico. The Republic of Texas was considerably larger than the state is today. In the Mexican War, the United States acquired California and the American Southwest from Mexico. Also, Indian Removal occurred during those years, and the Indians were relocated into what was called the Indian Territory (today's Oklahoma).

    The Kansas Territory was organized in 1854, and Sen. Stephen Douglas moved the northern boundary of the Indian Territory up a half-degree (35 miles) from 36 degrees, 30 minutes, to 37 degrees to accommodate lands allocated to Indian tribes. Eventually, this line at 37 degrees extended from Missouri to California -- the longest straight line in the U.S.

    As part of the Compromise of 1850, the New Mexico Territory was awarded a big chunk of Texas land -- enough to make New Mexico "squared off." The northern border was that 37 degree line (leading to the Four Corners of Utah, Colorado, Arizona, and New Mexico), and the New Mexico-Texas border was set at the 103rd meridian. Texas then extended up to 37 degrees north latitude, between the 100th and 103rd meridians.

    Texas was admitted in 1845 subject to three conditions: (1) no slavery north of 36 degrees, 30 minutes (the Missouri Compromise line); (2) the United States could determine the borders of the state of Texas (hence the border with the New Mexico territory set at 103 degrees); and (3) Texas would return to the U.S. government any land it didn't want.

    Subject to those conditions, the northern boundary of Texas was set at the 37th parallel, but in 1850 Texas returned what became the Oklahoma Panhandle to the U.S. government because Texas was a slave state. For the next 40 years, this "Public Land Strip" or "No Man's Land" belonged to the federal government, but was not part of any organized territory.

    In 1890 the Congress created the Oklahoma Territory by combining the Indian Territory and the Public Land Strip (the Panhandle). Oklahoma became a state in 1907.

    One interesting tidbit I learned while reading about this is that Cimarron County, the westernmost county in the Oklahoma Panhandle, is the only county in the United States that is bounded by four states -- Texas, New Mexico, Colorado, and Kansas.

    And the northern and southern borders of the Panhandle are historically important -- one as the Missouri Compromise line originally established by the English king to separate Virginia and North Carolina; and the other as the longest continuous straight line border in the U.S., originally established to accommodate Indian tribal boundaries.

    This was a complicated story to tell, so I'm glad I wrote a short answer up top. Also, I learned something from this exercise.

    Source(s): Gary Alden Smith, "State and National Boundaries of the United States" (2004)
  • 6 years ago

    This Site Might Help You.


    Why does the Missouri state boundry include its "boot heel" which logically would be part of Arkansas?

    The boot heel is that part of southeast Missouri projecting below the westerly state boundry. Also would like to know how the "pandhandle" became part of Oklahoma.

    Source(s): missouri state boundry include quot boot heel quot logically part arkansas:
  • lohr
    Lv 4
    4 years ago

    Bootheel Missouri

  • Anonymous
    5 years ago

    No. I found the read encouraging and thank you for it. From the article: "Eight state legislatures have introduced resolutions declaring state sovereignty under the Ninth and 10th amendments to the U.S. Constitution; they include Arizona, Hawaii, Montana, Michigan, Missouri, New Hampshire, Oklahoma and Washington. There's speculation that they will be joined by Alaska, Alabama, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Nevada, Maine and Pennsylvania." My state is not on that list. I am left wondering whether to spearhead such a motion in my state or to move to one of those states.

  • How do you think about the answers? You can sign in to vote the answer.
  • bane
    Lv 4
    4 years ago

    Missouri Bootheel

  • 1 decade ago

    This site has all you need to know of the "boot heel":

    As for the Oklahoma Panhandle:

    In essence, the land that was to become the Oklahoma Panhandle

    initially was to be part of the land assigned to Kansas after the

    Compromise of 1850 in which the original Republic of Texas ceded much

    of its territory. That plan was dropped in order to preserve for the

    time being this rectangle of land as the province of the American

    Indians who then controlled it. In the 1870's the Indians were

    suppressed on placed on reservations, and the land was exploited by

    ranchers. In 1890 it was included as part of Oklahoma (also former

    Indian land) when it was finally made a Territory.

  • 1 decade ago

    Because it makes the shape of Missouri look cool :)

    Arkansas wouldn't look good with a thing sticking out of the top.

Still have questions? Get your answers by asking now.