Compromise of 1850

1566 Words Nov 11th, 2005 7 Pages
THE COMPROMISE OF 1850
A little after the Manifest Destiny, the U.S. faced a series of troubles of sectional balances over whether or not the land acquired should be free or slavery states. The Compromise of 1850, proposed by Senator Henry Clay, included measures that dealt with the land acquired specifically from the Mexican War.
Until 1845, it had seemed likely that slavery would be confined to the areas where it already existed. It had been given limits by the Missouri Compromise in 1820 and had no opportunity to overstep them. The new territories made renewed expansion of slavery a real likelihood.
Many Northerners believed that if not allowed to spread, slavery would ultimately decline and die. To justify their opposition to
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These measures -- known in American history as the Compromise of 1850 -- were passed, and the country breathed a sigh of relief.
There were several points at issue: The United States had recently acquired a vast territory -- the result of its war with Mexico. Should the territory allow slavery, or should it be declared free? Or maybe the inhabitants should be allowed to choose for themselves?
Another rising issue facing congress, California -- a territory that had grown tremendously with the gold rush of 1849, had recently petitioned Congress to enter the Union as a free state. Should this be allowed? Ever since the Missouri Compromise, the balance between slave states and free states had been maintained; any proposal that threatened this balance would almost certainly not win approval.
There was also a dispute over land: Texas claimed that its territory extended all the way to Santa Fe. Finally, there was Washington, D.C. Not only did the nation 's capital allow slavery, it was home to the largest slave market in North America.
On January 29, 1850, the 70-year-old Clay presented the compromise. For eight months members of Congress, led by Clay, Daniel Webster, Senator from Massachusetts, and John C. Calhoun, senator from South Carolina, debated the compromise. At first, Clay introduced an omnibus bill covering these measures. Calhoun attacked the plan and
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