Crittenden Compromise

Topics: American Civil War, United States, Slavery in the United States Pages: 5 (1725 words) Published: January 8, 2002
On December 18, 1860 Kentucky Senator John Crittenden, offered the Crittenden Compromise as a last ditch effort to end the Civil War. It, like many other compromises before it, tried to make a compromise between the North and the South about which United States territories should and should not have slavery. The Compromise of 1850, and the Missouri Compromise were two previous compromises that had been passed that dealt with slavery in the United States.

The Crittenden Compromise proposed that the United States take the boundary between the slave states and free states that was set by the Missouri Compromise, and basically extended the line to California. The states below the line would be classified as slave states, and those above the line were classified as free states. The compromise also supported slavery in the District of Columbia, and asked for a great deal of suppression of African slave trade. It also stated that Congress would have no power to abolish slavery in states that permitted slave holding, and could not prohibit the transportation of slaves from one slave holding state to another. The Crittenden Compromise failed in the House of Representatives in January of 1861 by a vote of 113 to 80, and then failed in the Senate in March of 1861 by a vote of 20 to 19.

The Missouri Compromise was passed by the United States Congress to end the first of many problems they were faced with, concerning the extension of slavery in new United States territories. In 1819, Alabama was admitted to the United States as a slave state, which made the number of representatives in the United States Senate for free states and slave states equal. Then, in 1820, both Missouri and Maine wanted to be admitted to the United States and there was a debate as to if either of the states would be slave states. Maine was admitted as a free state, and Missouri was admitted as a state without restrictions on slavery. Instead of Missouri being a free state, it was decided that all the land in the Louisiana Purchase that was north of 36°30'N latitude, slavery would be prohibited. This provision was held until 1854, when the Kansas-Nebraska Act repealed it.

Part of the Crittenden Compromise stemmed directly from the Missouri Compromise. The line created in the Missouri Compromise was the line that John Crittenden proposed the United States extend to California, in order to make all the states above that line, free states, and all those below, slave states. Unlike the Missouri Compromise however, the Crittenden Compromise placed a lot of focus on laws about slavery in slave states. The Missouri Compromise was only about deciding which states should be free and which should be slave states. The Missouri Compromise was not very fair to both the North and the South. Compared to it, the Crittenden Compromise was fairer because it gave the North and the South an equal amount of land. The North got the land above 36°30'N latitude and the South got the land below it. In the Missouri Compromise, Missouri had no rules against slavery, but was not a slave state, because they were not admitted to the United States as a slave state.

In 1848, the United States gained more territory from Mexico, in the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, which was signed at the end of the Mexican War. After the signing of this treaty, the North and the South began to fight about whether or not the new territories gained by the United States should be slave territories or free territories. Then, California wanted to be admitted to the United States as a free state, which angered the South. Soon, the Senate was debating what to do about the problem of deciding which states that wanted to be admitted to the United States should be free states, and which should be slave states. It was then proposed that the states should decide for themselves upon admittance to the United States whether or not they wanted to be a free or slave state and California was...
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