The Compromise of 1850 Favored the North Over the South

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“I would rather be right than be President,” stated Senator Henry Clay concerning the issue of finding a resolution for the countries burning issue during the mid 1800s. Even though Clay lost the presidential election of 1849 to Zachary Taylor, he was determined to find a solution to America’s prevailing debate of whether or not to extend slavery into their new territories. The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo had officially ended the war with Mexico and political warfare in the Unite States was a rising issue. Part of the treaty forced the Mexicans to give up tracts of their land including Texas, California, and all the land between. This left the Americans in a predicament of whether or not to admit California to the Union as a free state, therefore making the ratio of free to slave states imbalanced. Ever since the Missouri Compromise of 1820, the balance between slave states and free states had been maintained, but California began to petition Congress to enter the Union as a free state. Since Texas was a slave state, they claimed land north of the 36°30' demarcation line for slavery set by the 1820 Missouri Compromise. However, the Texas Annexation resolution required that if any new states were formed out of Texas land; the land north of the Missouri Compromise line would become free states. As Clay worked for months to develop a compromise to solve the nation’s issue, he received help from Stephen Douglas, a young Democrat from Illinois. On January 29, 1850, after several other people suggested ideas that failed, the two men presented a series of bills that were ushered through Congress. California’s wish was granted and they were entered as a free state, officially disrupting the equilibrium in the states. The second bill...

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