1/10/1849 Illinois Representative to Congress Lincoln introduced an amendment to a resolution calling for the abolition of slavery in the District of Columbia. Slaves born after 1/1/1850 would be free, but were to be supported and educated in their youth by present owners, in exchange for an apprenticeship. Present DC slaveholders were to be compensated for emancipating their slaves. The Bill died for lack of support. LE 325
Landmark Decision - The Compromise of 1850 (September 20)
The Act was a multi-level series of laws that attempted to resolve territorial and slavery issues impacted by the Mexican-American War. The laws balanced interests of Southern slave states and Northern free states. California was admitted into the Union as a free state; the territory of New Mexico (present day Arizona and Utah) was organized without a prohibition to slavery; the slave trade but not slavery itself was abolished in Washington DC; and a strong Fugitive Slave Law required all citizens to assist in the return of runaway slaves, regardless where they were discovered. The Compromise temporarily defused sectional tensions in the United States until the Kansas-Nebraska Act four years later. Lincoln, though no longer a congressman, admired the chief compromiser, Henry Clay, and approved the work.