Balancing Sectional Interests
In crafting the Compromise of 1850, Senator Henry Clay of Kentucky sought to sustain the Union by balancing sectional interests. Northerners supported the admission of California to the Union as a free state and the end of the slave trade in the District of Columbia. Southerners favored the stricter Fugitive Slave Law, the resolution of the Texas-New Mexico boundary issue, and the possibility of slavery extending into the territories. Different coalitions of senators and representatives supported the key provisions that Congress passed as separate bills.