How did the Compromise of 1850 impact the South? 

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kmj23 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The Compromise of 1850 is the name given to a number of laws that were designed to settle national disputes over the territorial gains made in the Mexican-American War (1846-1848). This compromise gave significant gains to both the North and the South of the U.S and can be summarised as follows:

The North got:

  1. California admitted as a free state
  2. Slave trade banned in Washington D.C.
  3. Texas lost the boundary dispute with New Mexico

The South got:

  1. No restrictions on slavery in Utah or New Mexico
  2. Slaveholding allowed in Washington D.C.
  3. Texas received $10 million in the boundary dispute with New Mexico
  4. Fugitive Slave law enacted so that slaves who escaped could be returned to their master.

In essence, the South was able to continue the practice of slavery with the Compromise of 1850. Even thought the slave trade was banned in Washington D.C., the practice of keeping slaves remained. The most significant effect of the Compromise, however, was the South's ability to reclaim fugitive slaves. From now on, Southerners could legally pursue slaves who had fled their masters, even across state lines.

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