What were the major provisions of the Compromise of 1850?
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The Compromise of 1850, yet another ill fated attempt to avoid a Civil War between the Northern and Southern sections of the United States, contained five main provisions. The first four were fairly innocuous when considered side by side with the fifth provision, a new Fugitive Slave Act which (it was claimed) would be enforced this time. If the first four provisions appeased hostilities and cooled off tempers, it didn't last long, because item number 5 below sent the most fervent abolitionists and slavery proponents "off the deep end".
1. California was brought into the United States with a stipulation that it would be a "free" state.
2. Utah and New Mexico could enter the United States as "slave" or "free", which would be determined by popular sovereignty.
3. Texas would drop its claims to land in what is now New Mexico, in exchange for $10 million to pay its debt to Mexico.
4. The slave trade was outlawed in Washington, DC.
5. The Fugitive Slave Act made it illegal to not return a fugitive slave to its owner.
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