The Capitol Visitor Center will close at 1 p.m. on December 24 and December 31. We are also closed Christmas Day and New Year's Day.
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.