Compromise of 1850

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Compromise of 1850 The year of 1850 was a year of great political unease in the United States. California sets off a Great Debate known as the Compromise of 1850 when they apply for statehood. Henry Clay, of Kentucky, suggested that compromise on January 29 of 1850. Also the territory conquered from Mexico were asking to be organized as well. Statehood and the organization of territories were just two of the many issues discussed in the Great Debate. But one of the most talked about and provocative compromises to come out of the Compromise of 1850 was a new and tougher Fugitive Slave Act. In 1848 a man by the name of James Marshall discovered gold on Ft. Sutter. Once word got out regarding the gold that was detected in California many people around the country, and in Mexico, packed up their belongings and headed west to California. In a period of about a year California’s population sky rocketed. They had enough people to become a state. So when they applied for statehood the issue of slavery came up, and again the argument arose as to whether it should be designated as a slave state or free state. This was difficult to decide because of the fact that a portion of that state would be south of the 36° 30' parallel designated as open to slavery in the Missouri Compromise. In the end the compromise declared California a free state. The southerners hated this decision, because now the number of free states outnumbered the number of slave states as well as in congress where free states had one extra representative. Another issue relating land was what to do with the remaining unorganized land left over from the Mexican Cession. Congress agreed on separating the land into two territories. One would be called the New Mexico Territory and the other would be the Utah Territory. Congress wasn’t just finished there. They still had to agree upon the status of slavery in the territories. Henry Clay’s idea of popular sovereignty eventually became the basis on what was to be used to resolve the slavery issue in the territories. Northerners primarily didn’t really approve of the decision, because they did not want slavery to expand into new areas. One of the major proposals discussed upon was The Fugitive Slave Act.

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