I am not here to argue with anything or anybody Paul, but when you talk about the history of our State, especially in the central Missouri area, you need to get the whole story straight..........reread what I said. I did not leave out any of the southern states......I simply gave the western perspective for what it was, and as Franklin Missouri was the drop off spot and people spread across our state from there.........you can use any excuse for location, neighboring states, or anything else....if you want me to mention the mining, no problem. When do you want to start, before or after the Louisiana Purchase?..The spanish citizenry is a prime example (Moses Austin)...But slavery and the culture we did have, which was heavy in agriculture, both leading up to statehood and after helped give our state, not only that nickname, but many others. We were known as the Canaan of America (Daniel Webster quote), due to the people who came into our state because of it's natural resources....and the fact that Howard county was huge and later broken up into other counties.....Slavery was part of the culture. I do not apologize for what happened, or for the culture and the way it was.....it developed and made many of us who and what we are today..There is not a person in his right mind who agrees with the concept of slavery today, but sadly it is still in our world wheither we like it or not...I am a states rights advocate, and will not white wash or demean the history or our State. But I will not argue the point with you either. My facts are documented in writing.