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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 provisions outlawing the slave trade in the District of Columbia and admitting California to the Union as a free state; Southerners favored the stricter Fugitive Slave Law and the continuation of slavery in the nation’s capital. After Congress rejected Clay’s original omnibus bill on the territories, Senator Stephen Douglas of Illinois engineered passage of its key provisions as separate resolutions.

1 Image The Fugitive Slave Law, n.d. ca. 1850 View All Images
1 Image S. 226, A bill to suppress the slave trade in the District of... View All Images