Union or Disunion?
The Compromise of 1850 provoked one of the Senate’s most famous debates. In his last speech to the Senate, John C. Calhoun of South Carolina protested the admission of California as a free state, claiming that the more powerful North was unfairly excluding the South from new territories and pushing the South to secede. Senator Daniel Webster of Massachusetts, speaking “not as a Massachusetts man, . . . but as an American,” urged Congress to compromise on other slavery-related issues for the sake of preserving the Union.