Civil War Compromises

Compromise helped delay the Civil War by maintaining the balance of both slave and free states, discontinuing the slave trade in Washington D. C. and returning slaves to their original owners with the Fugitive Slave Act, The Missouri Compromise of 1820 maintained the balance of slave and free states for 30 years. This kept the North and south satisfied. Missouri was added as a slave state and to sustain the equality between both sides, Maine was carved out of Massachusetts and added as a free state.

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The compromise also drew in the latitude line of 36° 30’, which permitted all states north of that line to be free (except for Missouri) and all states south of it to be slave states. This line also maintained the states that would allow slaves in the western territories. This compromise clearly delayed the war for 30 years, keeping both sides relatively content. The north was satisfied with the discontinuation of the selling of slaves in Washington D. C.

They were aware that abolishing slavery was not going to be simple but they put in effort to prevent the spread of slavery to the west. The south strongly desired the spread of slavery to new territories. However, they were kept satisfied with the Fugitive Slave Act, which was being more strictly enforced. This act made it so that slaves that had escaped using the Underground Railroad would be returned to their owners, as long as the owners had proof or evidence of ownership. Anyone assisting the escape of a slave would be charged with a $1,000 fine and up to six months in jail.

The results of this compromise were that California entered the Union as a free state, and Utah would be allowed to enter the Union as a slave state if citizens voted by means of popular sovereignty. The Kansas-Nebraska Act is when a lot of the contentment on both sides began to fall apart. Senator Stephen A. Douglas, responsible for passing the Compromise of 1850, wanted a railroad running west through Chicago. The problem with that were the unsettled territories in the west. He organized these territories into Kansas and Nebraska.

Under the provisions of the Compromise of 1850, these territories would be added as free states. This tilted the balance of the free and slave states and gave the north an unfair advantage. Senator Douglas chose to get rid of the Missouri Compromise and go about the issue of slavery by use of popular sovereignty as well. Residents of Kansas voted strongly for it to be a slave state and what ensued was an upheaval and a violent attack by the antislavery residents, led by John Brown. This is when the Civil War was becoming unavoidable and there were no more compromises that could delay it.

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