To what extent did the Compromise of 1850 represent a genuine meeting of the minds between Northerners and Southerners?  

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martinjmurphy eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The compromise of 1850 was not really a genuine meeting of the minds between Northerners and Southerners. This compromise deepened the division between the North and the South. When the Mexican-American War ended, the United States received the Mexican Cession which included all of California, Nevada and Utah, and parts of Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, and Wyoming.  With this huge land acquisition, the issue of slavery in the new territories was raised.  This led directly to the Compromise of 1850.   First, California would be admitted to the Union as a free state, which upset the South.  Two new territories would be established, Utah and New Mexico.  These territories would be open to slavery through popular sovereignty, that is, the people of the territories would decide the issue of slavery.  This upset the people in the North because so much territory could now have slavery. The slave trade was banned in the District of Columbia which upset the South because they saw this as a first step towards abolishing slavery.  There would be a new, strict, fugitive slave law which upset the North because now by law they had to assist in returning slaves to their owners. These tensions created by the Compromise of 1850, which was passed because of the results of the Mexican-American War, helped create the conditions for the Civil War.

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