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The Meaning and Making of Emancipation

The Meaning and Making of Emancipation

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Published by Prologue Magazine

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Published by: Prologue Magazine on Dec 17, 2012
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10/03/2013

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''Cooler heads finally prevailed, however. The Compromise of 1850 averted a violent

confrontation. This series of laws admitted California as a free state, divided the re-

mainder of the Mexican cession into the territories of New Mexico and Utah, and left to

their residents the question whether or not they would have slavery. (Both territories did

legalize slavery, but few slaves were taken there.)

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Source: Resolution introduced by Senator Henry Clay in relation to the adjustment of all existing ques-
tions of controversy between the states arising out of the institution of slavery (the resolution later became
known as the Compromise of 1850), 01/29/1850; Senate Simple Resolutions, Motions, and Orders of the
31st Congress, ca. 03/1849–ca. 03/1851; Bills and Resolutions Originating in the Senate, 1789–2002;
Records of the U.S. Senate, 1789–2011, Record Group 46; National Archives Building, Washington, DC.
(National Archives Identifier: 306270)

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''But the Compromise of 1850 compensated the South with a tough new fugitive slave

law that empowered Federal marshals, backed by the Army if necessary, to recover

slaves who had escaped into free states.

''These measures postponed but did not prevent a final showdown. The fugitive slave

law angered many northerners who were compelled to watch black people—some of

whom had lived in their communities for years—returned in chains to slavery.''

Excerpted from ''Out of War, A New Nation'' by James McPherson

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