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Word Count: 321
Faced with this Civil War mounting crisis moderates and unionists spent the winter of 1849-1850 trying to frame a great compromise The aging Henry Clay who was spearheading the effort believed that no compromise could last unless it was settled all the issues in the dispute between the sections As a result he took several measures which had been proposed separately combined them into a single piece of legislation and presented it to the Senate on January 29 1850 Among the bills provisions were the admission of California as a free state the formation of territorial governments in the rest of the lands acquired from Mexico without restrictions on slavery the abolition of the slave trade but not slavery itself in the District of Columbia and a new and more effective fugitive slave law These resolutions launched a debate that raged for seven months both in Congress and throughout the nation The debate occurred in two phases the differences between which revealed much about how American politics were changing in the 1850s In the first phase of the debate the dominant voices in Congress were those of old men national leaders who still remembered Jefferson Adams and other founders - who argued for or against the compromise on the basis of broad ideals Clay himself seventy-three years old in 1850 made a broad plea for sectional conciliation and appeared to share sentiments of nationalism Early in March another of the older leaders John C Calhoun sixty-eight years old and so ill that he had to sit grimly in his seat while a colleague read his speech for him joined the debate Calhoun insisted that the north grant right to the south equal rights in its territories that it agree to observe the laws concerning fugitive slaves that it cease attacking slavery and that it amend the constitution to create dual presidents one from the North and one from the South each with a veto
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