The Missouri Compromise

During Congress' debate over slavery, Missouri applied for statehood as a slave state. Southerners were pleased and were happy with letting Missouri be a slave state. Northerners, however, saw this as a threat to the even balance in Senate. While Congress debated over how to admit Missouri, James Tallmadge of New York proposed an ammendment that said Missouri would only be admitted as a free state. Southerners were outraged by this idea, they claimed that Congress should not decide whether a state be free of slave, thy claimed that decision belonged to Congres. Southerners were so frightened of the idea of Missouri becoming a free state because that wold finally give free states a majority in the Senate. The house finally voted to approve the Tallmadge ammendment, but the Senate rejected it.

When Congress came back to Washington in January, the situation had changed. Now Maine was applying for statehood as a free state. However the North still faught for Missouri as a free state, and the South used words like "secession." Thomas Cobb of Georgia said: "If you persist, the Union will be dissolved. You have kindled a fire which only a sea of blood can extinguish." Tallmadge roared back: "If disunion must take place, let it be so! If civil war must come, I can only say, let it come." However, everyone knew no one wanted to seperate the Union. In order to prevent secession, Henry Clay of Kentucky created a compromise that would give both sides even benefits. He said Missouri should be admitted as a slave state, and Maine will be a free state, Also, an imaginary line below Missouri will be created, and anywhere south of this line is open to slavery, to the north it was banned. However, this compromise satisfied no one. Congressman who accepted the ammendment were called traitors in the North and southern slaveholders protested banning slavery in the Louisiana Territory. Secretary of State John Quincy Adams said that if the Union is going to break up, slavery wil be the reason. He also stated that slavery would be put to rest at the present. He was right.

During the 1820s, slavery talk laid low, however northerners were boiling up in protest. Many relgious people thought that God called them to abolish slavery. In the 1830s, protesters flooded the streets of Washington D.C., protesting slavery. Congress said they had no power to interfere with slavery in the states. In response to this, protesters suggested they ban slaveholding in Washington. Instead of replying to that, Congress tabled all anti-slavey petitions. This meant that Congress wouldn't act upon or read anti-slavery petitions. Abolitionists called this the "gag rule" because it gagged all abolition attempts. Southerners feared theses abolitionist's assault on their peacices. Soon after, Nat Turner and six slaves launched a rebellion. Although it was crushed, the South cretated strict slave laws to prevent another rebellion from taking place.

Wilmot Provisimo

The "gag rule" set aside all slavery talks out of congress for ten years. Then, James K. Polk sent a bill to Congress to send funds to help with the war against Mexico. When Congress recieved this, a Pennsylvania representative named david Wilmot added a ammendment to the bill. It said that any territory that may be taken from Mexico may not have any slavery or involuntary servitude in it. Southerners were strongly against this bill. Congress could not decide where slaves could be taken. The bill was rejected by the Senate. This issue sat in Congress for three years. Southern Senators proposed that the Missouri Compromise Line be extended all the way to the Pacific Ocean. Northerners opposed this bill. Then, California applied as a free state. Northerners were happy with this idea, but the South rejected the idea. When the North tried to push California's statehood, the South talked about secession again.

The Compromise of 1850

Henry Clay, a Kentucky senator walked through a blizzard to Washington for an unexpected visit to Senator Daniel Webster of Massachusettes. Clay had a plan to keep the Union together, but he needed Webster's help. Clay's idea admitted California as a free stats, meanwhile New Mexico and Utah territories open to slavery. This would please both the North and South. Also, Clay's plan ended slavery in Washington D.C., but slaveholders could keep the slaves they have, but could not but anymore. The last part of Clay's plan called for a strong fugitive slave law so slaveholders could reclaim their runaway slaves. For the next nine months, the bill was argued in Congress. The South started talking about peacfully leaving the Union, Danie Webster rejected those talks. He said that any secession would end in a war. No one wanted a war, so the compromise was accepted. Northerners were happy, but the South still was not satisfied. Secession was getting closer.