Slavery And The U.S. Government Essay

1566 words - 7 pages

Back in the early to mid-1800s, one of the biggest issues was slave trade and the ownership of slaves. The United States was one of the last countries to still allow slavery and at the time, there was much debate as to whether or not slavery should still be allowed. As many people know, this issue was heavily debated over for many years, and eventually, became one of the sparks that started one of the biggest wars this nation has ever encountered. There was much debate at the time as to how the slave trade should be regulated; the southern states believed that slave trade should be decided by the states themselves, while the northern states believed that slave trade should be under federal ...view middle of the document...

While these three men were all very powerful and influential men of their era one man stands above the rest. Henry Clay, the representative of Kentucky in not only the Senate, but the House of Representatives as well, would most likely be considered the most influential and powerful of the three men, this Kentucky native had a long and distinguished political career long before the issue of slavery gripped the nation, he was secretary of state under Quincy Adams and ran for president as well. However, what he is most well-known for is his contributions before the civil war. Henry Clay was, and is still to this day; known by many as “The Great Pacificator,” and not without just cause, this man time and time again was able to pacify a country that was at the brink of war. One piece of legislation he is most known for is the Compromise of 1850 in the late 1840s, the Mexican war had just been won, and new territories were being added to America. With one question on every body’s mind, where they going to be slave states? One state in particular was causing trouble for the nation. California had been admitted into the nation as a new state, and this posed a problem for the government, California wanted to be admitted in as a free state. This posed a major problem for the pro-slavery states, as the balance between slave and Free states would have been upset if California was admitted as a free state. Henry Clay and the other two men recognized this problem and began looking for a solution to it, and in 1850, they created one. The Compromise of 1850 stated that California would be admitted as a free state; in return, to pacify the slave states, the Fugitive slave act would also be ratified. Another important idea that came out of this compromise was popular sovereignty. Not only was California in question, but the territories of New Mexico and Utah as well, Clay and the other men sought to fix this issue. They eventually decided on allowing these two states to join the union but not say anything about their position on slavery. This was able to temporarily settle the pro-slave and anti-slave politicians who were concerned that the balance they had created would be upset This compromise was able to accomplish what it was made to do, keep the nation united, though this was only temporary (pbs.org). Henry clay, while being the most powerful and influential men of this so-called “Big Three” still could not have achieved what he did without the other two. Though they used their best efforts to keep the country united and at peace with itself, the country could only stay unified for so long. Some of the last things, and considered by some people, the breaking point of the nation was the repealing of the Missouri Compromise and the Dred Scott vs. Sanford decision.
The Missouri Compromise was one of the first legislations passed that was used to help even the balance between slavery and anti- slavery. After the Louisiana Purchase, and America gaining all that...

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