Compromise of 1850 and Slave Act

By: Jesse Ziros

The Compromise of 1850

  • The compromise stated that Texas would relinquish the land in dispute. They would be given 10 million dollars in return as compensation that could be used to pay off its debt to Mexico.
  • The territories of New Mexico, Nevada, Arizona and Utah could be organized without mentioning slavery. The inhabitants of these places would decide upon slavery when they applied to be admitted as states.
  • The slave trade would be completely abolished in the District of Columbia, but slavery is still permitted.
  • California would be admitted as a free state.
  • The most controversial part of the bill was the Fugitive Slave Act. This act fined any federal officer who did not arrest a runaway slave.
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The Fugitive Slave Act

  • Under this act the citizens were required to help the state in recovery of fugitive slaves
  • Special commissioners would handle the cases of fugitive slaves and the fugitives were denied a right to jury trial
  • The commissioners were paid $5 when the fugitive was released and $10 if the slave was sent away with the claimant
  • Under this new law, it became a very easy process for slave owners to file a claim and more federal officials were made responsible for enforcement of the law
  • Anyone who did not aid in the arrest or trial of a fugitive slave already in custody was subjected to a heavy fine and even imprisonment.

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How Did the Compromise of 1850 and the Fugitive Slave Act Help The Civil War

The Compromise of 1850 did not lead to the Civil War. It actually postponed it from happening. It consisted of five parts:

  • California would admit into the Union as a free state
  • Slave trade would be outlawed in D.C.
  • the fugitive slave law was to be enforced by Northerners
  • Texas would give up much of its western land claims for pensions to pay of state debt