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1987 Dbq Compromise Of 1850 Essay

The Compromise of 1850 Essay

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The compromise of 1850 was a settlement on a series of issues plaguing the unity of the states. The primary issue to address was the institution of slavery, which was causing much dissension between the north and the south. Additional items to be addressed were territory issues and to prevent secession by the south. Henry Clay stepped forward to present a compromise, which had Congress in an eight-month discussion known as the “Great Debate”. As a result of the proposal, there were strong oppositions. One outspoken person who opposed the proposal was John C Calhoun. Calhoun was an intellectual southern politician, political philosopher and a proponent to the protection of Southern interests. He was an advocate for states’ rights and…show more content…

Webster believed the issue of slavery was settled long ago, when the regions were divided into slave and free states, and he also believed an agreement could be reached between the pro-slavery positions in the south and anti-slavery position in the north. Comparatively, Calhoun and Webster both saw the union was in danger of falling apart, they also both believed the issues of slavery between the north and the south was the major cause. Where they disagreed was on the future state of slavery. Calhoun saw the compromise as a betrayal of the south; he sought to have the northerners agree to the protection of slavery in the south so the south would remain in the union. Calhoun knew slavery pre-existed and believed it must continue to exist. Webster was more of a pacifist, he pleaded with the northerners to accept demands of the south in order to save the union, even though he did not accept the fact slavery needed to continue. Webster deeply believed that preservation of the union was more important than any other issue. In addition, William Henry Seward also opposed the proposed compromise. Seward was a New York politician and secretary of state and was one of the major political figures of the mid-nineteenth century; he became one of the most outspoken anti-slavery politicians of the period. Seward condemned Clay's resolutions on the

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The Compromise of 1850

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The Compromise of 1850


The Compromise of 1850 and Kansas-Nebraska Acts were very advantageous to the South. In both pieces of legislation the south gained things that would aid them in their campaign to expand slavery. The advantages the south included a stronger fugitive slave law, the possibility for slavery to exist in the remaining part of the Mexican Cession, the repeal of the Missouri Compromise, and the eventual plan to build the Southern Pacific Railroad.
One item in the Compromise of 1850 was the provision for a stronger Fugitive Slave Law. This new law made it a federal crime to not return a runaway slave to the south. The law also established that any suspected runaway slave was to be tried by a single judge, not by a jury. Also, these judges were compensated by a system that provided them with more money for deciding that the slave was guilty than innocent. This law obviously encouraged people not to harbor runaway slaves, and when they were caught, it provided the judge an incentive to have them returned to the south.
Another advantage of the Compromise of 1850 to the south was that the rest of the Mexican Cession territory was to be divided into the two territories of Utah, and New Mexico. It was also said that when these territories eventually applied for statehood, the people of the new states would decide for themselves if they were to be free states or slave states. This was good for the south because it made it possible for the new territory to eventually become slave states, and that would not be possible if the 36-30 line was extended westward. The compromise also said nothing prohibiting people from bringing their slaves to the territory in the meantime.
The Kansas-Nebraska Act was a great victory for the south. The greatest benefit to the south was the repeal of the Missouri Compromise, which established the sacred 36-30 line. If the Missouri Compromise had stayed in place, there would have been no more possibility for the expansion of slavery, since there was no land left south of the 36-30 line; under the Missouri Compromise southern expansion was hampered by the existence of the Gulf of Mexico. As a result of the line being repealed, it was possible for slavery to exist in the territories of Kansas and Nebraska because of popular sovereignty.

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It was also thought that since Kansas was directly west of Missouri, a slave state, Kansas would also choose to become a slave state. The south also tricked the north into thinking they had gotten the better part of the deal because they were going to get the Union Pacific Railroad, but the north was unaware of the plan to build the Southern Pacific Railroad, which would benefit the south.
There are very strong facts to show that the south was the greater benefactor in the Compromise of 1850 and the Kansas-Nebraska Act. The benefits that the south reaped far outweigh those of the north. The possibility of the expansion now seemed like a much greater possibility than it had been before the Compromise of 1850 and Kansas-Nebraska Act.



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