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Missouri is a US state located in the Midwestern United States, bordered by Iowa, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Kansas and Nebraska. With a 2010 population of 5,988,927, Missouri is the 18th most populous state in the nation and the fifth most populous in the Midwest.
Missouri mirrors the demographic, economic and political makeup of the nation (in general) with a mix of urban and rural culture. It has long been considered a political bellwether state. With the exceptions of 1956 and 2008, Missouri's results in U.S. presidential elections have accurately predicted the next President of the United States in every election since 1904. It has both Midwestern and Southern cultural influences, reflecting its history as a border state.
Most Missouri farmers practiced subsistence farming before the Civil War. The majority of those who held slaves had fewer than 5 each. Planters, defined by historians as those holding 20 or more slaves, were concentrated in the counties known as "Little Dixie", in the central part of the state along the Missouri River. The tensions over slavery had chiefly to do with the future of the state and nation. In 1860 enslaved African Americans made up less than 10% of the state's population of 1,182,012. To try to control regular flooding of farmland and low-lying villages along the Mississippi, by 1860 the state had completed construction of 140 miles of levees along the river.
Lincoln University and Harris-Stowe State University were established in the mid-nineteenth century and are historically black colleges and universities.
The Bureau of Economic Analysis estimates that Missouri's total state product in 2006 was $225.9 billion. Per capita personal income in 2006 was $32,705, ranking 26th in the nation.
German Americans are an ancestry group present throughout Missouri. African Americans are a substantial part of the population in St. Louis, Kansas City, and in the southeastern Bootheel and some parts of the Missouri River Valley, where plantation agriculture was once important.
The use of the unofficial nickname the Show-Me State has several possible origins. The phrase "I'm from Missouri" means 'I'm skeptical of the matter and not easily convinced'. This is related to the state's unofficial motto of "Show Me," whose origin is popularly ascribed to an 1899 speech by Congressman Willard Vandiver, who declared that "I come from a country that raises corn and cotton, cockleburs and Democrats, and frothy eloquence neither convinces nor satisfies me. I'm from Missouri, and you have got to show me."
Missouri generally has a humid continental climate with cold winters and hot and humid summers. In the southern part of the state, particularly in the Bootheel, the climate borders on a humid subtropical climate. Located in the interior United States, Missouri often experiences extremes in temperatures. Without high mountains or oceans nearby to moderate temperature, its climate is alternately influenced by air from the cold Arctic and the hot and humid Gulf of Mexico.
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