Wednesday, January 16, 2013

The Crittenden Compromise

Matthew Brady's 1855 portrait of Sen. Crittenden
The Crittenden Compromise was an unsuccessful proposal introduced by Kentucky Senator John J. Crittenden on December 18, 1860. It aimed to resolve the U.S. secession crisis of 1860–1861 by addressing the grievances that led the slave states of the United States to contemplate secession from the United States.
The compromise proposed six constitutional amendments and four Congressional resolutions. Crittenden introduced the package on December 18. It was tabled on December 31.
It guaranteed the permanent existence of slaves in the slave states and addressed Southern demands in regard to fugitive slaves and slavery in the District of Columbia. It proposed extending the Missouri Compromise line to the west, with: slavery prohibited north of the 36° 30′ parallel and guaranteed south of it. The compromise included a clause that it could not be repealed or amended.
The compromise was popular among Southern members of the Senate, but it was generally unacceptable to the Republicans, who opposed the expansion of slavery beyond the states where it already existed into the territories. The opposition of their party's leader, President-elect Abraham Lincoln, was crucial. Republicans said the compromise "would amount to a perpetual covenant of war against every people, tribe, and state owning a foot of land between here and Tierra del Fuego." The only territories south of the line were parts of New Mexico Territory and Indian Territory. There was considerable agreement on both sides that slavery would never flourish in New Mexico. The South refused the House Republicans' proposal, approved by committee on December 29, to admit New Mexico as a state immediately.
Both the House of Representatives and the Senate rejected Crittenden's proposal. It was part of a series of last-ditch efforts to provide the Southern states with sufficient reassurances to forestall their secession during the final session of Congress prior to the Lincoln administration taking office.
The Crittenden proposals were also discussed in February 1861 at the peace conference, the final formal effort to avert the start of war, only to fail again as the provision guaranteeing slave-ownership throughout all Western territories and future acquisitions proved too unpalatable for Lincoln and the Republicans.

“I worked on my board today.  This afternoon when I went up I took 30 Doz eggs to Hank Ball.  Snowed hard this afternoon and is snowing this evening.”

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