• The original proposal was presented by Kentucky Senator Henry Clay.
  • The purpose of the Compromise of 1850 was to achieve political balance between north and south, abolitionists and supporters of slavery respectively; and to avoid disunion and war.
  • The Compromise of 1850 was prompted by new territory acquired during the Mexican American war and the application of California as a free state.
  • The Senate Select Committee of Thirteen drafted the legislation based on Clay’s proposal. It was bundled in an omnibus bill and was rejected by the Senate.
  • Henry Clay left Congress as he was too ill from tuberculosis.
  • Illinois Senator Stephen Douglass took over Clay’s proposal and separated the omnibus bill into individual bills. Each bill got a majority vote.
  • The debate lasted nine months.
  • President Zachary Taylor was strongly opposed to the bill. His death paved its approval in the Senate.
  • President Millard Fillmore supported the Compromise of 1850 and signed it into law on September 1850.
  • The Compromise of 1850 included the following provisions:

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