Last Chance for Compromise
As the volatile issue of slavery’s expansion grew increasingly divisive, Congress struggled with legislation to preserve the Union. In 1860 Kentucky Senator John Crittenden proposed a return to ideas of the Missouri Compromise, suggesting a fixed boundary between free and slaveholding territories to extend to the Pacific. In 1861 Ohio Representative Thomas Corwin proposed a constitutional amendment prohibiting federal interference with slavery in the states. Congress rejected Crittenden’s Compromise, and the states did not ratify the Corwin amendment. Congress was not able to prevent Southern secession and war.