The Compromise of 1850, I believe, preserved the Union.In this essay, I will discuss who wrote the compromise, who opposed it, and what the compromise did for the Union.
The Union was on the brink of breaking up, so Henry Clay thought of a plan and presented it to the Senate on January 29, 1850.The plan stated that California was to be brought into the Union as a free state, and the remaining Southwest territories would remain as is, without mention ofslavery.This would give the Southerners the right to retain slaves in those territories. Second,the Texas border would be given to the New Mexico territory in exchange for the U.S. paying off their pre-annexation debts, which was $10 million.Next, the slave trade in Washington D.C. would be abolished.Slavery itself, however, would still remain.Last, a more efficient slave fugitive law would be set in the North.
Southern Senators, on the other hand, found Clay’s plan unacceptable. So, John C. Calhoun, though feeble in age and unable speak, prepared a plan for his side.Senator James Mason, of Virginia, read the speech that Calhoun thought would save the Union.But, the speech came across as an argument for secession.Calhoun had concluded if the North would not yield about the slavery issue, “let the States…agree to separate and part in peace.If you are unwilling we should part in peace, tell us so, and we shall know what to do.”.(Garraty and Carnes, 345)This argument became one of the biggest in history.Congress remained deadlocked on the issue until the untimely death of President Taylor on July 9, 1850.Millard Fillmore was the next in line, and with him in office, the deadlock was over.
Finally, it was agreed that each part of the bill would be voted on separately. Many Senators agreed on some parts of the bill,kept silent on other parts, and voted aga…