The Compromise of 1850 & Fredrick Douglas
The Compromise of 1850 was primarily about the future of slavery in the new territories and the Union. Out of the Compromise of 1850 came “The Fugitive Slave Law”, which gave owners of escaped slaves the power and the resources to procure their escaped slaves. It constituted one of its provisions was controversial federal laws that intended to pacify the slaveholding south and enraged the Northern abolitionist and ultimately provoked the Civil War.
The compromise was necessitated by the United States annexation of territory stretching from Texas to California after the Mexican American War (1846-1848). This national expansion confirmed “The Manifest Destiny”, ideology that claimed that God intended America extend “from sea to shining sea’, which posed a significant political problem. Since 1820 a balance had been achieved between free (non-slaveholding) & slave holding states. This balance had been established by the Missouri Compromise which legislated that slavery would not be allowed to spread above the Mason-Dixon, nor would slavery be prevented below it. The growth of the nation in the early nineteenth century including the admission of Missouri & Maine in 1820, the annexation of Texas in 1845, and the Oregon Territory in 1848 was monitored by a strict division of slavery in the south and freedom in the north.
The Compromise of 1820 sought to allow the US to continue to function as a united nation by satisfying both the North & the South, thus deferring the political & ethical dilemma posed by the practice of slavery. In a nation founded upon “all men are created equal”. The Compromise itself had 5 key bills that came out of it, 1). California was admitted as a free state, 2). New Mexico and Utah were organized without restrictions on slavery, 3). Texas, also unrestricted to slavery had its boundaries set and received $10 million for the land that would become New Mexico, 4). The slave trade (but not slavery...
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