The politics of compromise. The debate in the Senate on the omnibus bill stretched out for six months amid talk of the southern states' seceding from the Union. Clay made an eloquent defense of his proposed settlement on the Senate floor, strongly emphasizing that secession would lead only to war. Calhoun, too ill to deliver his response to Clay's speech, listened as a colleague read it for him. He called for equal rights for the South in the territories, an end to attacks against slavery, and a constitutional amendment that would, in some vaguely described manner, restore power to the southern states. Daniel Webster spoke in support of the compromise and criticized extremists on both sides of the issues— abolitionists as well as the vocal defenders of slavery. He argued that the climate and soil of the territories precluded the extension of slavery there. Senator William H. Seward of New York
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