Clayton Compromise

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</ref>The Clayton Compromise was a plan drawn up in 1848 by a bipartisan United States Senate committee headed by John M. Clayton for organizing the Oregon Territory and the Southwest. Clayton first attempted to form a special committee of eight members, equal divided by region and party, two northern and two southern men from each of the two great parties, with Clayton of Delaware as chairman, was elected to consider the questions relating to the extension of slavery. [1]It recognized the validity of Oregon's existing antislavery laws, prohibited the territorial legislatures of New Mexico and California from acting on slavery, and provided for appeal of all slavery cases from the territorial courts to the Supreme Court of the United States. It passed the Senate July 27, 1848, but it was tabled in the United States House of Representatives by a coalition of Southern Whigs led by future Confederate Vice President Alexander H. Stephens. Stephens believed that the compromise would completely surrender southern rights in the territories, as he was certain that the Supreme Court would rule against slavery in the territories.[2]

Background history[edit]

In the 19th century, manifest destiny was a widely held belief in the United States that its settlers were destined to expand westward across North America. Mexican American War was fought between United States of America and United Mexican States from 1846 to 1848. In the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo in 1848, Mexico ceded parts of the modern day Southwest United States to the U.S. Mexican cession led to debate over slavery. Wilmot Proviso in 1848 was a result of the Mexican American War that banned slavery in Mexican Cession. After the settlement of the Oregon boundary dispute in 1846, U.S. gained territory south of the 49th parallel line. Acquisition of Oregon territory in 1848 led to debate over slavery as well. When established, the territory encompassed an area that included the current states of Oregon, Washington, and Idaho, as well as parts of Wyoming and Montana.

In the compromise[edit]

Clayton compromise was a bill the committee reported on July 18, 1848. It created a territorial government for Oregon, which allowed the unofficial provisional government’s antislavery ban to continue in effect until the new territorial legislature ruled for or against slavery. But the Compromise explicitly banned the territorial government for New Mexico and California from taking any action either establishing or prohibiting slavery. The decision was left to the federal judiciary (Supreme Court of the United States).

The Clayton Compromise passed the senate but failed in the House, which refused to recede from the Wilmot Proviso. [3]

Mostly Southern Democrats and Whigs supported the compromise, Northers from both parties and whigs mainly opposed the compromise. If Georgia Alexander Stephens and seven other southern whigs voted like other Southerners, the Clayton Compromise would have survived and passed. [4]

1850 Compromise[edit]

The 1848 Compromise eventually failed which led to the Compromise of 1850. Compromise of 1850 added California as a free state and allowed popular sovereignty in Mexican Cession. There was also a more strict fugitive slave laws and slave trade was abolished in Washington D.C.


  1. ^ Tig, Elektra (2010-10-24). "The Clayton Compromise 1: Formation of the Committee of Eight". Elektratig. Retrieved 2017-05-19. 
  2. ^ Schott, Thomas (1996). Alexander H. Stephens of Georgia: A Biography. LSU Press. pp. 88–89. 
  3. ^ Sołtan, Karol Edward; Uslaner, Eric M.; Haufler, Virginia (1998). Institutions and Social Order. University of Michigan Press. ISBN 0472108689. 
  4. ^ Holt, Michael F. (2003-05-01). The Rise and Fall of the American Whig Party: Jacksonian Politics and the Onset of the Civil War. Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780199830893. 

2. Tig, Elektra (2010-10-24). "The Clayton Compromise 1: Formation of the Committee of Eight". Elektratig. Retrieved 2017-05-19.

3.The rise and fall of the American Whig Party: Jacksonian politics and the onset of the Civil War Michael Holt - Oxford University Press - 2003

4. The American nation, a history: from original sources by associated scholars Albert Hart-David Matteson-Charles Andrews-Kendric Babcock-John Bassett-Edward Bourne-French Chadwick-Edward Channing-Edward Cheyney-Davis Dewey-William Dunning-Livingston Farrand-George Garrison-Evarts Greene-Albert Hart-Albert Hart-James Hosmer-James Hosmer-George Howard-John Latané-William MacDonald-Andrew McLaughlin-Frederic Ogg-Theodore Smith-Edwin Sparks-Frederick Turner-Reuben Thwaites-Lyon Tyler-Van Halstead - Harper & Bros. - 1904

5.Manifest destiny

6.Oregon Territory