Senate report of the Committee of Thirteen offering Henry Clay's compromises on the extension of slavery, May 8, 1850
The Senate appointed a select Committee of Thirteen, with Senator Henry Clay of Kentucky as chair, to report on Clay’s compromise resolutions. Clay’s committee report sought to balance the conflicting interests of Northern and Southern states regarding the volatile issue of slavery, which threatened to disrupt the Union.
Records of the U.S. Senate, National Archives and Records Administration
The Compromise of 1850
Sectional disputes intensified as Congress considered the issue of slavery in the western territories acquired by the Mexican War. Senator Henry Clay of Kentucky attempted to diffuse the controversy by offering resolutions on slavery and western land. The Senate debated Clay’s proposals for seven months. When Clay’s proposal failed, Congress repackaged the proposal into a series of bills known as the Compromise of 1850. Key provisions included California’s admission as a free state, a stricter Fugitive Slave Act, and a ban on slave trading in Washington, D.C.