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Henry Clay played a central role in the political debates over the pivotal events of the mid-nineteenth century, including tariffs and especially the expansion of slavery into western territories. Clay repeatedly sought, and temporarily achieved, political solutions to the heated debates, earning the moniker of "Great Compromiser," or "Great Pacificator." When Southern states insisted that slavery be allowed in the new state of Mississippi, Clay, as Speaker of the House, used his influence to help guide a series of compromise measures through Congress, including the admission of Maine as a free state along with Missouri, a slave state, and the legalization of slavery in new territories south of the 36'30 line. In 1833, he negotiated a compromise tariff that ended the nullification crisis involving South Carolina and the Jackson Administration, and in 1850, he negotiated the admission of California as a free state, an agreement which, along with other concessions, helped to resolve an immediate sectional crisis and established the short-lived principle of popular sovereignty with respect to the slavery issue in the western territories.
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