Due to a special Joint Meeting of Congress taking place in the Capitol on Tuesday, March 3, the U.S. Capitol will be closed to tours until approximately 12:30 p.m. on that day. The Capitol Visitor Center will remain open throughout the day, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., and guided tours of the Capitol Visitor Center will be available while the Capitol is closed.
After the Mexican War, the question of whether to allow or prohibit slavery in the new western territories threatened to rupture the Union. Slavery’s extension to new states could give the slaveholding South a majority in the Senate; its prohibition would favor the North. In the Compromise of 1850, Congress admitted California as a free state; settled boundaries of Texas and New Mexico; created a territorial government for Utah; upheld the rights of slaveholders over escaped slaves; and banned slave trading in the nation’s capital.