Compromise of 1850

Law
9 Stat. 446, 452, 453, 462, 467 (1850)

Legal Definition of Compromise of 1850

series of compromise measures passed by the U.S. Congress in an effort to settle several outstanding slavery issues and to avert the threat of dissolution of the Union. The measures were offered by the “great compromiser,” Senator Henry Clay of Kentucky. In an attempt to give satisfaction both to those favoring and those opposing slavery, the important sections of the omnibus bill called for the admission of California as a free state, the organization of the territories of New Mexico and Utah with the slavery question left open, settlement of the Texas-New Mexico boundary dispute, a more rigorous provision for the return of runaway slaves, and the prohibition of the slave trade in the District of Columbia. These measures were accepted by moderates in all sections of the country, and the secession of the South was postponed for a decade. The Compromise, however, contained the seeds of future discord.

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Cite this Entry

“Compromise of 1850.” Merriam-Webster.com Legal Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/legal/Compromise%20of%201850. Accessed 1 Aug. 2021.

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