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Henry Clay's resolutions proposing the Compromise of 1850, January 29, 1850

The eight resolutions of the Compromise of 1850 addressed unresolved questions related to slavery, balancing the interests of the antislavery North with those of the slaveholding South. The first four resolutions covered issues in western territories. The others concerned slavery and the slave trade in Washington, D.C., the return of fugitive slaves, and rights of slaveholding states.

Records of the U.S. Senate, National Archives and Records Administration

Henry Clay's resolutions proposing the Compromise of 1850, January 29, 1850 Henry Clay's resolutions proposing the Compromise of 1850, January 29, 1850

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.