As a result of the Missouri Compromise, Missouri entered the Union as a slave state in 1821. Missouri legislators feared that free Black people from the free states that bordered Missouri would move to the state and encourage the enslaved people there to revolt. In 1835, the legislators passed a new law that required that every free Black person in the state to apply for a freedom license. This allowed the all-white government to determine which free Black people could reside in the state.
In 1843, the Missouri legislature added a second condition to the law. It said that all free Black people had to sign a bond guaranteeing their good behavior. If the free Black person then did something that the state deemed illegal, they would lose their freedom license, be forced to leave the state, and have to pay a fine. The fines could be as high as $1,000, which is equivalent to over $30,000 today. The person also had to find at least one person willing to sign the bond as their security. If the free Black person could not pay their fine, their security would have to pay it for them. If a free person or their security could not pay, the government could seize their property and sell it. It was challenging to find someone willing to take that kind of financial risk. This additional requirement made it even harder for free Black people to live in Missouri.
This is the Missouri freedom bond of a free Black woman identified only as Rosalie. In the bond, she and her securities, Joseph Garneau and Thomas G. Martin, each promise to pay $100 if Rosalie is ever found guilty of bad behavior in the state. Her total bond would be worth about $10,000 today.