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How effective was The Compromise of 1850?


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Nothing like as effective as the Missouri Compromise, which had kept the peace for thirty years, but whose terms could not accommodate a new state as big as California.

The 1850 Compromise was an awkward trade-off, to allow California to enter the Union as free soil, and Congress had to appease the South with certain concessions. The most controversial of these was the Fugitive Slave Act which allowed official slave-catchers to hunt down runaways.

This infuriated the fast-growing Abolitionist lobby, including Harriet Beecher Stowe who dashed-off 'Uncle Tom's Cabin' in a short time, to see it become a nationwide best-seller, fuelling the slavery debate further.

The 1850 Compromise had to be replaced with more hasty deals, none of which stuck.

In addition to the above, the 1850 Compromised was politically destroyed by the passage of the Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854. There we have the introduction of popular sovereignty. The act called for the citizens of territories and upcoming new state applications to vote whether the state would be a free one or a slave state. The act was part of Stephen A. Douglas's legacy.