Compromise of 1850

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  • In attempting to settle a bitter controversy between North and South, the Compromise of 1850 initially defined the political boundaries of the American West. As wrangling swirled around the expansion of slavery, Congress settled the boundaries of one state, admitted the first western state, and created two territories.

    Discord arose in earnest as the war with Mexico neared its finale in 1846. The controversy was prompted by Rep. David Wilmot's, D/R, Pa., amendment to a Mexican War appropriations bill, proposing to exclude slavery from the new territories. A coalition of northern Democrats and Whigs in the House passed Wilmot's Proviso over the strenuous opposition of southern Democrats. The vote signaled that the normal pattern of division in Congress had been irretrievably ruptured. Conflict would then be ...

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