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Compromises Leading to the Civil War. Can’t we all just get along?. Up to 1860 only a few extremists in the South, called fire-eaters, wanted to apply the doctrine of secession to create a separate Southern country. .

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compromises leading to the civil war

Compromises Leading to the Civil War

Can’t we all just get along?


Up to 1860 only a few extremists in the South, called fire-eaters, wanted to apply the doctrine of secession to create a separate Southern country.


Moderates of both North and South kept hoping to compromise their differences over slavery, tariffs, and the territories.

  • Compromise was possible as long as neither side controlled the Senate.
  • With the admission of Alabama in 1819, the Senate became perfectly balanced. (11/11)
  • However, territories acquired through the Louisiana Purchase and the Mexican War, would soon be petitioning for statehood.
  • When slaveholding Missourians applied for statehood in 1818, the long-standing balance of free and slave states (11 each) was jeopardized. A northern-sponsored amendment was then attached to the bill (1819) authorizing statehood; it prohibited the entry of slaves into Missouri and provided for the gradual emancipation of those already there. The proslavery faction was unable to prevent the bill's passage by the House of Representatives, where Free states held a majority, but southern strength in the Senate defeated the bill.
  • Maine, then a part of Massachusetts, also applied for statehood in 1819. Speaker of the House Henry Clay of Kentucky warned northern congressmen that unless they changed their position on Missouri the southerners would reject Maine's petition.
missouri compromise of 1820
Missouri Compromise of 1820
  • To please the South the slavery restrictions for Missouri were removed, and to satisfy the North, a proviso by which slavery would be prohibited forever from Louisiana Purchase territories north of 36° 30' was added.
  • Missouri and Maine were to enter statehood simultaneously to preserve sectional equality in the Senate.
compromise of 1850
Compromise of 1850
  • This was to deal with the territory gained from Mexico.

Concessions to the North

  • Abolition of the slave trade in the District of Columbia
  • Admission of California as a free state.
compromise of 18501
Compromise of 1850

Concessions to the South

  • The Fugitive Slave Law of 1850, which provided for the return of runaway slaves to their masters. (Northern abolitionists hated this)
compromise of 18502
Compromise of 1850
  • The territory east of California ceded to the United States by Mexico was divided into the territories of New Mexico (now New Mexico and Arizona) and Utah, and they were opened to settlement by both slaveholders and antislavery settlers.
  • This measure superseded the Missouri Compromise of 1820.
compromise of 18503
Compromise of 1850
  • Texas, already in the Union as a slave state, be awarded $10 million in settlement of claims to adjoining territory, further strengthening the South.
kansas nebraska act 1854
Kansas-Nebraska Act (1854)
  • The Kansas-Nebraska Act (1854) was a U.S. law authorizing the creation of Kansas and Nebraska, west of the states of Missouri and Iowa and divided by the 40th parallel. It repealed a provision of the Missouri Compromise (1820) that had prohibited slavery in the territories north of 36° 30‘.
  • It stipulated that the inhabitants of the territories should decide for themselves the legality of slaveholding.
kansas nebraska act 18541
Kansas-Nebraska Act (1854)
  • The bill was sponsored by Democratic senator Stephen A. Douglas of Illinois.
  • Douglas and other northern leaders hoped to facilitate construction of a transcontinental railroad through their states rather than through the southern part of the country.
  • The removal of the restriction on the expansion of slavery ensured southern support for the bill.
kansas nebraska act 18542
Kansas-Nebraska Act (1854)
  • The act's passage:
    • split the Democratic Party.
    • destroyed the already badly divided Whigs. Whig opposition to the measure practically ended support for that party in the South.
    • The northern Whigs joined antislavery Democrats and Know-Nothings to form the Republican Party in July 1854.
kansas nebraska act 18543
Kansas-Nebraska Act (1854)
  • Conflict soon developed in Kansas between proslavery settlers from Missouri and antislavery newcomers who began to move into the territory from the northeastern states.
crittenden compromise 1860
Crittenden Compromise (1860)
  • The Crittenden Compromise was a measure proposed in December 1860 by U.S. Senator John Jordan Crittenden of Kentucky, a prominent southern supporter of the Union, on the eve of the American Civil War to avert the impending secession of the southern states.
crittenden compromise 18601
Crittenden Compromise (1860)
  • Slavery should be prohibited in those territories north of 36°30’, the line established by the Missouri Compromise of 1820, but that south of the line slavery should be protected.
  • Slavery, in any state where it existed, might not be abolished without the consent of that state.
crittenden compromise 18602
Crittenden Compromise (1860)


  • The federal government should compensate the owners of fugitive slaves whenever it was established that the slaves had escaped with outside assistance.
  • The Crittenden Compromise was rejected by the House of Representatives in January and by the Senate in March 1861.