I. New Land Renews Slavery Disputes
A. Regional Differences About Slavery
1. Representative David Wilmot offered the Wilmot Proviso, which passed in the House but not the Senate. 2. The Wilmot Proviso spurred a debate that showered growing sectionalism. 3. Since the Democrats and Whigs didn’t take a clear position on slavery, antislavery northerners formed the Free-Soil Party. a. The Free-Soil Party drew away 10% of the votes from the Democratic candidate in the election. B. The California Question
1. Most Californians opposed slavery, but if it joined the Union as a free state, the balance would change. 2. In the south, imbalance was unacceptable.
II. Compromise of 1850
1. Henry Clay of Kentucky proposed a compromise that would later become the Compromise of 1850. 2. The compromise drew attack, especially regarding California. b. John C. Calhoun asked that the slave states be allowed to secede from the Union. 3. A compromise was enacted that year and seemed to settle most disputes between free and slave states. 4. With the Compromise of 1850, Texas agreed to give up its land claims in New Mexico in exchange for financial aid form the federal government. 5. The compromise also outlawed the slave trade in the District of Columbia and established a new fugitive slave law. III. Fugitive Slave Act
A. Details of the Fugitive Slave Act
1. Slaveholders could use testimony from white witnesses, but enslaved African Americans accused of being fugitives could not testify. 2. People who helped hide a runaway slave faced six months in jail and a $1,000 fine. 3. Commissioners who rejected a slaveholder’s claim earned $5 while those who returned suspected fugitives to slaveholders earned $10. B. Reactions to the Fugitive Slave Act
1. Enforcement of the Fugitive Slave Act began immediately after the FSA was passed. 2....