The Volatile 1850s

Following the Wilmot Proviso, the U.S. noticed the matter of whether new states admitted to the Union should accept or reject slavery. Like the Mississippi Compromise, the Compromise of 1850 was also a temporary solution to the argument over slavery, further dividing U.S.

territory into free and slave states. Under the Compromise, California was made a free state; settled the slave borders of Texas, Utah, and New Mexico; banned the slave trade in District of Columbia and a stricter enforcement of the Fugitive Slave Law. The law, sanctioned in 1850, granted slave-owners even greater power, passing them the authority to forcefully round up round- away slaves, which combined with the inability of blacks to testify their own freedom, sent hundreds of fugitives back to the slavery, while also fueling abolitionists. While the act had slightly pacified the conflicting states, the sectional differences had contributed to the vitality of the 1850s, essentially with the battle with the strong opposition in the south to the compromise and angry abolitionism in the North. If the Compromise of 1850 had been more successful, it would have taken a stronger decision toward the issue of slavery and helped further prevent the upcoming event of the Civil War.

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