Crisis precipitated by acquisition of huge lands from Mexico. Henry Clay comes back to the Senate from retirement and with Daniel Webster crafts the compromise. 1. California is admitted as free state. Utah and New Mexico are incorporated without restrictions. 2. Domestic slave trade is prohibited in Washington DC. See Map of 1850 Compromise. But the Fugitive Slave Act further strengthens Federal laws forcing free states to turn over fugitive slaves. Southern Congressmen will argue that admission of California constitutes a repeal of the Thomas amendment.
Election of 1852 Franklin Pierce, a weak New Hampshire Democrat with Southern ties, elected in 1852. Whigs, without Clay or Webster, suffer crushing defeat.
Kansas-Nebraska Act (1854) Edit
Stephen Douglas submits Kansas-Nebraska bill admitting Kansas to statehood under popular sovereignty: it will be up to the settlers to decide on the question of slavery. This effectively repeals the Thomas amendment and brings on the events known as Bleeding Kansas: One of the first duties of the chief justice of the territorial court, Samuel Lecompte, was to set conditions for electing a representative to Congress. Thousands of Missourians crossed the state line to vote for proslavery candidates. Northerners organized thousands of Free Soil emigrants to flood Kansas with free-state votes (alias Massachusetts Emigrant Aid Company). These emigrants made Lawrence their headquarters. Outnumbered Southerners responded by organizing armed men from neighboring Missouri to intercept free-state emigrants (alias Society of Missourians for Mutual Protection). Thus guerilla war broke out in Kansas. Two rival governments formed. Andrew Reeder, governor of the territory appointed by Pierce, attempted to restrain the Missourians. Pierce deposed Reeder and instated William Shannon, a pro-slavery governor, in his place. Free Soilers then elected Reeder to Congress and wrote a free constitution in a convention at Topeka. Pierce denounced the Topeka constitution and supported instead a slave state constitution written under Shannon at Lecompton (between Topeka and Lawrence). An all-out range war ensued between the slave state forces under David Atchinson, a Missouri senator, and the free state forces under Henry Lane, recent Congressman from Indiana.
Republican Party formed in 1854 by members of the Free Soil Party, the Liberty Party and disgruntled Democrats. Calls for repeal of the Kansas-Nebraska act and the Fugitive Slave Law.
Dred Scott Decision (1856) Edit
In the case of Dred Scott, an ex-slave whose return to slavery was sought by his former owners, the Supreme Court under Chief Justice Roger Taney ruled that 1) Scott was not a citizen and had no right to bring suit; 2) Not free based on residence in Wisconsin Territory Missouri Compromise was unconstitutional on basis of popular sovereignty.
Election of 1856 Republicans ran John Fremont for President. James Buchanan, a Democrat, elected.
Lincoln-Douglas Debates In 1858 Abraham Lincoln runs for Senate from Illinois against Stephen Douglas, architect of the Kansas-Nebraska act and the doctrine of polular sovereignty. Lincoln loses, becomes tarred as an abolitionist although in his House Divided speech he insists he is merely advocating the eventual elimination of slavery and keeping slavery contained where it now is.