What was the 1850 Compromise and Why did it Fail? Essay

What was the 1850 Compromise and Why did it Fail? Essay

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What was the 1850 Compromise and Why did it Fail?

In 1850, Henry Clay one of the most influential political leaders in
American history introduced a set of resolutions, which aimed to
please both North and South America. The five proposals were rolled
into a single 'omnibus' bill, which offered a solution to the growing
sectional conflict over slavery and westward expansion, which arose
from the 1846 Mexican War. The 1850 Compromise, which Senator Douglas
stripped down and effectively helped pass, failed for a number of
reasons, the greatest of which was that it was unable to please both
anti-slave and pro-slave groups. In fact it merely 'papered over the
crack', and did not prove, as Daniel Webster a Clay supporter had
hoped, 'a finality that would give peace to a country long distracted
by the quarrel over slavery'. Why did the Compromise ultimately fail,
and lead to polarization, featuring a party, which had begun to
establish itself in the 1820s.

The conflict between the North and South stemmed back to 1846, when
the U.S.A won a huge area of Mexican territory as the result of what
became known as the Mexican War. The land acquired revived controversy
over the extension of slavery, as many Northerners wanted the new
territory to become a free state with no slavery, and many Southerners
wanted slavery to expand. Numerous compromises were conceded, to try
to resolve the sectional conflict, for example the Wilmot Proviso of
1846 attempted to exclude slavery from any territory gained as a
result of the war. The Calhoun Doctrine issued in 1847, and known as
'The Platform of the South', asserted that the territories were common
property of all the states. However the argument of whether slavery
should be...


... middle of paper ...


... of the affects to their economy. However many Northerners
who did resist slavery probably had a free labour ideology; that
Northern farmers could grown cotton to fuel the trade industries of
the North, as a replacement for slave labour.

The events that had occurred before and after 1846 had shown that
expansion of America created major sectional conflict and jealousies,
due principally to the question of slavery. The resolutions had
actually managed to delay the immediate danger of sectional split.
However as the apparent fairness of the Compromise was false, like all
other attempts at compromise it failed. Slavery was a moral issue,
which proved that more than a compromise was needed to resolve it. The
Compromise of 1850 ultimately resulted with a large number of
Southerners seceding from the union, furthermore political
polarization of the Democrats.

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