Books on the Compromise of 1850

BlueandGrayl

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#1
As all of us CWT folks know the Compromise of 1850 was crafted by Kentucky Whig Senator Henry Clay and was passed by Congress in September 1850 it layed out the following terms:
*
400px-United_States_1849-1850.png

Before the compromise:
  • (Gold Rush) California applies to become a free state
  • Texas claims territory as far as the Rio Grande
  • New Mexico resists Texas, applies to become a free state
400px-United_States_1850-1853-03.png

Territorial results of the Compromise:
  • California is admitted as a free state
  • Texas trades some territorial claims for debt relief
  • New Mexico becomes New Mexico Territory with slavery undecided

  • Texas surrendered its claim to New Mexico as well as its claims north of 36°30'. It retained the Texas Panhandle, and the federal government took over the state's public debt.
  • California was admitted as a free state, with its current boundaries.
  • The South prevented adoption of the Wilmot Proviso that would have outlawed slavery in the new territories, and the new Utah Territory and New Mexico Territory were allowed, under popular sovereignty, to decide whether to allow slavery within their borders. In practice, these lands were generally unsuited to plantation agriculture, and their settlers were uninterested in slavery.
  • The slave trade, but not slavery altogether, was banned in the District of Columbia.
  • A more stringent Fugitive Slave Law was enacted.


However pretty much up until September 1850 the question regarding Western territories was one of hot debate and it divided the Democrats and Whigs along sectional lines and at one point Texas threatened to send its militia (the Texas Rangers) to enforce its claims on New Mexico even going as far as sending Robert S. Neighbors on an expedition to the area which needless to say angered local New Mexican residents (Anglo or Latino) and Zachary Taylor as well as his successor Millard Fillmore were pretty adamant in using force against any potential conflict between Texas militia and U.S. military garrison, certain newspapers and contemporaries who wrote during the tenous period saw civil war and disunion could break out if the state of Texas and the United States government ever got into a fight.


The books I recommend reading to know about how these tenous 9 months in 1850 went are: America's Great Debate (2012) by Fergus M. Bordevich, On the Brink of Civil War (2003) by John C. Waugh, and Prologue to Conflict (1964) by Holman Hamilton I incorported the events detailed into some of my posts and they should be read.

https://books.google.com/books/about/America_s_Great_Debate.html?id=uWM8YONfaC4C
https://books.google.com/books/about/On_the_Brink_of_Civil_War.html?id=K1CD0uBbumwC
https://books.google.com/books/abou...ml?id=jr46nwEACAAJ&source=kp_book_description
 

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#2
My I also add the following book which I think is the best of those already listed above: "The Political Crisis of the 1850's" by Michael F. Holt. I would also highly suggest this book: "The Fate of Their Country: Politicians, Slavery Extension, and the Coming of the Civil War" also by Michael F. Holt. Holt was a professor of history at the University of Virginia. He is a very capable and highly competent historian and lecturer who I consider one of my favorite historians. David.
 
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#3
While not about the compromise of 1850 per se, one I always recommend that covers the slavery issue very well (and of course does cover the compromise of 1850) is:

Potter, David M. (1976) The Impending Crisis: 1848 * 1861 (Harper, The New American Nation Series).
 

BlueandGrayl

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#4
I'd say that the country was much closer to conflict at this time than most people think when Texas governors George T. Wood and Peter H. Bell both decided to enforce their state's claims on New Mexico and the latter already chosen Robert S. Neighbors to lead an expedition with the Texas Rangers which upset many New Mexico residents who didn't want to be part of an existing state and Zachary Taylor promised that he would clamp down on the South (despite ironically being bonr there) if the U.S. military garrison was ever fired upon by Texas militia similarily his successor the Northern-born Millard Fillmore also warned that if there were any disturbances and intrusions into the area he would enforce the Federal Government's authority "however painful the duty" (On the Brink of Civil War) implying force would be involved.

And christian soldier for the book The Fate of Their Country it relates to how Fillmore would have handled the situation here is an excerpt:
"On August 6, Fillmore officially informed Congress of the Texas threat to march on Santa Fe. Even more firmly than Taylor, he declared Santa Fe and the areas east of the Rio Grande part of New Mexico and thus property of the United States and announced that his oath of office compelled him to use armed force to repel any 'trespassers' from Texas and threatened U.S. authority in the area"

And here is an excerpt from Millard Fillmore's speech on August 6, 1850 to the Senate and House of Representatives:
"If Texas militia, therefore, march into any one of the other States or into any Territory of the United States, there to execute or enforce any law of Texas, they become at that moment trespassers; they are no longer under the protection of any lawful authority, and are to be regarded merely as intruders; and if within such State or Territory they obstruct any law of the United States, either by power of arms or mere powers of numbers, constiuting such a combination as is too powerful to be suppressed by the civil authority; the President of the United States has no option left to him, but is bound to obey the solemn injunction of the Constitution and exercise the high powers vested in him by that instrument and by the acts of Congress (i.e. he is referring to the Constitution allowing for the President to send a militia of enforcing laws earlier in his speech)
Or if any civil posse, armed or unarmed, enter into any Territory of the United States, under the protection of the laws thereof, with intent to seize individuals, to be carried elsewhere for trial for alleged offenses, and this posse be too powerful to be resisted by the local civil authorities, such seizure or attempt to seize is to be prevented by the authority of the United States.

It was due to the efforts of people like Henry Clay and Stephen A. Douglas that through careful crafting and some political manuevering throughout the 9 months of 1850 helped stop a potential spark for a civil war to break out. Unlike with 1820's Missouri Compromise, Clay in 1850 was old and aged he was just a few years from death in 1852 more importantly he was becoming a bit ill suffering from coughing and cold by January 1850 when he was cobbling together the compromise though lucky for him he didn't die just imagine if he did things would probably take a turn for the worst (America's Great Debate, P. 131: "Clay was also ill, and coughed continuosly during the hour he spent at Webster's home. On the Brink of Civil War, P. 74: "By January 21 he had cobbled together the principal parts of the compromise. The evening it was bitter cold and he had a wracking cough").
 

Joshism

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#5
America's Great Debate: Henry Clay, Stephen A. Douglas, and the Compromise That Preserved the Union
Book
by Fergus Bordewich does an excellent job covering the Compromise of 1850.

David Potter's The Impending Crisis is a must-read for anyone remotely serious about learning about the American Civil War. I consider it the single most important book I've ever read on the subject. It covers political events from the Mexican War through secession, including the Compromise of 1850.
 

BlueandGrayl

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#7
Taylor foreshadowed men like Farragut and Thomas who put country ahead of state or region.
In a way sort of. Taylor is a bit different from say David Farragut (Tennessee) or George H. Thomas (Virginia, underrated general) because since he already disliked expanding the institution he benefitted from to the West and actually saw it as a moral and political evil (see America's Great Debate) if he had lived a bit longer by not suffering that illness he probably would have been the first to fire upon the South (just like Millard Fillmore) instead of the other way around in 1861 specifically the state of Texas and oh boy it would have a lot of repercussions especially if he went down himself with an army towards the other Southern states it would only cause a lot of anger amongst Southern Democrats and Whigs plus Taylor would be seen as an outright traitor for attacking fellow Southerners.

Presuming if Taylor died as OTL and Fillmore assumed control as I posted above he was willing to use force against Texas militia and so if he had fired upon them just like Taylor there would be a lot of massive repercussions and given that he was from a Northern state (New York) this would definitely heat up sectional tension between North and South sooner and significant anger from the latter.

In both cases, Taylor or Fillmore attacking the flag of Texas' (a fellow Southern state) own militia (the Texas Rangers) would bolster secessionist sentiment giving Fire-Eaters like Robert Barnwell Rhett and William Lowndes Yancey a reasonable justification to their fellow Southerners to secede earlier and for the border states at least two of the four Kentucky and Missouri shared a lot of links to the South culturally and economically so they would as outraged to see the Federal Government attack their brethren perhaps secession would become much more popular and Union sentiment dissipating as for Maryland the state was sort of a unique mix between Northern mercantilism and Southern agrarianism so as far as western and central Maryland (who have more in common with Pennsylvania) is concerned they wouldn't too upset but the more plantation-heavy Eastern Shore and Southern Maryland as well as the city of Baltimore (the site of the Baltimore Plot and the Pratt Street Riots) would be outraged the latter which had a bit of Southern sympathy, Delaware wouldn't too upset either since they were linked with the Northern states and they would be the last to leave the Union since they're the first to ratify the Constitution, I'm not so sure how Unionist regions like West Virginia (then a part of Virginia) and East Tennessee would react, the Northern states reaction towards Taylor or Fillmore's decision to fire on Texas given that there was already tension on Western expansion it would only be increased by this move and the Northern states would view the Southern state of Texas trying to gain land east of the Rio Grande as unlawful and the firing upon being justified in upholding the Constitution. Regardless, any U.S. garrison in New Mexico firing upon Texas' militia would be bad not only for the Union since it gives Southern secession a huge boost but also for the Democrats and Whigs who would be split after this event. The thing I changed is Henry Clay dying of illness in January 1850 thus he is unable to craft the Compromise of 1850 to lower tension.
 
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#8
While not about the compromise of 1850 per se, one I always recommend that covers the slavery issue very well (and of course does cover the compromise of 1850) is:

Potter, David M. (1976) The Impending Crisis: 1848 * 1861 (Harper, The New American Nation Series).
This is an outstanding book that shoul be in everyone's library.
 

uaskme

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#9
Clay’s Illness which made him step aside had a lot to do with the Compromises passing. They first tried to pass it as an Omnibus, which failed. Stephens broke it up into Individual Pieces and got it Passed. There was a lot of Political animosity against Clay. He had been on the Pesidential Ticket 3 Times and had made his enemies with the Whigs. Taylor died during the Debate for the Compromise. Might of been the best thing he ever did for his Country.

Clay lost the Presidential Election in 44 to (Young Hickory) Polk. Texas was an issue. Clay being the Whig who didn't believe in Conflict for Expansion, and also didn't want to embroil the County into another Slavery fight was against Annexation. Van Buren lost the Democrat nomination because he was against Annexation. So the Country was in a Expansionist Mood. It wasn't just the Southerners. The old Manifest Destiny thingy.
 

BlueandGrayl

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#11
Clay’s Illness which made him step aside had a lot to do with the Compromises passing. They first tried to pass it as an Omnibus, which failed. Stephens broke it up into Individual Pieces and got it Passed. There was a lot of Political animosity against Clay. He had been on the Pesidential Ticket 3 Times and had made his enemies with the Whigs. Taylor died during the Debate for the Compromise. Might of been the best thing he ever did for his Country.

Clay lost the Presidential Election in 44 to (Young Hickory) Polk. Texas was an issue. Clay being the Whig who didn't believe in Conflict for Expansion, and also didn't want to embroil the County into another Slavery fight was against Annexation. Van Buren lost the Democrat nomination because he was against Annexation. So the Country was in a Expansionist Mood. It wasn't just the Southerners. The old Manifest Destiny thingy.
You're right. Clay was of course a key figure for the Union more than say Abraham Lincoln, Ulysses S. Grant, William Tecumseh Sherman etc. he was a politician who knew how to find a middle ground being from a Southern state but also supporting Northern concepts and identifying as a Westerner and prevent tension from increasing between the North and South much sooner as he displayed in 1820 with the Missouri Compromise and in 1850 with the aforementioned Compromise the former he did it himself and the latter with the help of Stephen A. Douglas (aka "the Little Giant") it kept the two at bay long enough for there to be a consolidation.
 

uaskme

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#12
You're right. Clay was of course a key figure for the Union more than say Abraham Lincoln, Ulysses S. Grant, William Tecumseh Sherman etc. he was a politician who knew how to find a middle ground being from a Southern state but also supporting Northern concepts and identifying as a Westerner and prevent tension from increasing between the North and South much sooner as he displayed in 1820 with the Missouri Compromise and in 1850 with the aforementioned Compromise the former he did it himself and the latter with the help of Stephen A. Douglas (aka "the Little Giant") it kept the two at bay long enough for there to be a consolidation.
Clay was at the end of his life. Calhoun died during the debate. Webster supported the Compromise. Henry Clay biography by Remini really helped me. He has a chapter on the 1850 Compromise and did a stand along book. He make a point about the failure of the Compromise was the younger generation of Politicians not forming some Government programs to bring the Sections together. The last opportunity to do that. Douglas had the clout to get the job done.

Fact is, if the Politicos had of blown up MO or TX like they ultimately did KS, the War would of been sooner. Blame it on whoever?
 

BlueandGrayl

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#13
Clay was at the end of his life. Calhoun died during the debate. Webster supported the Compromise. Henry Clay biography by Remini really helped me. He has a chapter on the 1850 Compromise and did a stand along book. He make a point about the failure of the Compromise was the younger generation of Politicians not forming some Government programs to bring the Sections together. The last opportunity to do that. Douglas had the clout to get the job done.

Fact is, if the Politicos had of blown up MO or TX like they ultimately did KS, the War would of been sooner. Blame it on whoever?
Like mentioned before Clay had suffered through chronic coughing and could have died much earlier. Without Clay, the Compromise of 1850 wouldn't exist since he basically wrote up the basics and Stephen A. Douglas helped it pass without it there would still be the tension that existed when the Compromise existed as an Omnibus bill only this time cranked up and regardless if it's Taylor of or Fillmore the blow up in Texas would perhaps be blamed on the United States government by Southerners as hese two promsed that they would fire upon Texas militia.
 

uaskme

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#14
Like mentioned before Clay had suffered through chronic coughing and could have died much earlier. Without Clay, the Compromise of 1850 wouldn't exist since he basically wrote up the basics and Stephen A. Douglas helped it pass without it there would still be the tension that existed when the Compromise existed as an Omnibus bill only this time cranked up and regardless if it's Taylor of or Fillmore the blow up in Texas would perhaps be blamed on the United States government by Southerners as hese two promsed that they would fire upon Texas militia.
It was Clay’s Deal. However, Taylor had won the Whig nomination over him. Taylor wasn’t a Whig, Clay was a 3 Time looser so they chose a Military Chieftain as Clay called him. Taylor didn’t have the experience or clout to do a Compromise. Taylor died, which gave the Whigs Political Power. Taylor tried to split the middle with his Administration. Also ended the conflict between Taylor and Clay. They tried the Omnibus route, against Clays direction. He caved to pressure to get the Vote on it. By this time in his career he had made enough enemies, some rejected supporting anything with his name on it. However he was the chief architect of the Compromise and he had the support of the American People. No one else could of done what he did.
 

BlueandGrayl

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#15
It was Clay’s Deal. However, Taylor had won the Whig nomination over him. Taylor wasn’t a Whig, Clay was a 3 Time looser so they chose a Military Chieftain as Clay called him. Taylor didn’t have the experience or clout to do a Compromise. Taylor died, which gave the Whigs Political Power. Taylor tried to split the middle with his Administration. Also ended the conflict between Taylor and Clay. They tried the Omnibus route, against Clays direction. He caved to pressure to get the Vote on it. By this time in his career he had made enough enemies, some rejected supporting anything with his name on it. However he was the chief architect of the Compromise and he had the support of the American People. No one else could of done what he did.
And that's what made Clay special.
 

BlueandGrayl

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#16
Here's Daniel Webster of Massachusetts on the Texas-New Mexico boundary dispute:
"I do not think that so great an evil as it would be to leave New Mexico without a government, without protection, on the very eve of probable hostilities with Texas, so far as I can discern; for, to my mind, there is the highest degree of probability that there will arise collisions, contests, and for aught I know, bloodshed, if the boundaries of New Mexico are not settled by Texas"

He pretty much knew that there was going to be armed conflict if the Texas-New Mexico border dispute wasn't resolved.
 



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