74209211,_1850__Compromise_and_1860_Slavery_Expansion

74209211,_1850__Compromise_and_1860_Slavery_Expansion -...

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Pomi Marc Pomi Stony Brook University History 265 10/27/08 The decade of the 1850s proved to be a pivotal period in the history of the United States. Although the nation had been founded on the principles of freedom, equality, and justice for all, in reality it was freedom, equality and justice for whites only. Practically every minority residing with the United States at this time was treated in an inferior manner, particularly the approximately four million slaves residing mainly in the southern states. It would be during this decade that the fight over these slaves, or rather the issue of slavery, would come to a head and ultimately lead the nation to war. When the decade began, the politicians of the United States were embroiled in debates over how to admit California as a free or slave state; how to organize the rest of the Southwest territories with regard to slavery; how to deal with the many issues surrounding Texas; how to deal with the issue of slavery in the District of Columbia; how to create and enact a more effective fugitive slave law; and what to do about Congressional interference with the interstate slave trade. All these issues were in regard to the maintenance and expansion of slavery, and were threatening to tear apart the nation. To avoid this, a group of politicians – Henry Clay, Daniel Webster, and John Calhoun – joined forces to present to Congress a solution for the problems at hand. In January of 1850, Clay presented to Congress his package of “eight resolutions designed to solve all the disputed issues” (Shi & Tindall 421). It consisted of the following: admitting California as a free state, organizing the rest of the Southwest territories without restricting slavery, denying Texas its claim on most of Mexico, compensating Texas by 1
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Pomi assuming its debt, upholding slavery in the District of Columbia, abolishing the slave trade
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