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Black History and Blacks in U.S. History
A Nation Divided
(1840-1861)

Compromises of 1820 and 1850



Compromises of 1820 and 1850
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 7 to 9
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   8.11

Vocabulary
     challenging words:    further, abolition, dealt, cultural, status, heated, violent, proposal, heavily, controversial, political, admission, refused, stripped, maintain, sympathetic
     content words:    Slave States, United States, Missouri Compromise, Slave State, Free State, Popular Sovereignty, Senator Henry Clay, Fugitive Slave Law, Many Southerners, New Mexico


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Compromises of 1820 and 1850
By Mary L. Bushong
  

1     You might wonder what two compromises thirty years apart could have in common. The first was a deal allowing both Free and Slave States into the United States. The second was a combination of five bills which not only dealt with Slave States, but also with harsher laws dictating the return of runaway slaves. They were stepping stones leading to the violent split of a nation.
 
2     The Missouri Compromise of 1820 actually began in 1819. Many of the people who had helped settle the new territory were slave owners. Slave owners wanted to maintain their slaves as property and have their territory join the Union as a State.
 
3     When Missouri first applied to join, the House of Representatives refused to allow it. Many of the members were not sure they wanted to allow slavery to spread legally to new states. Members from the Southern states supported the admission. Discussion did not stop until a compromise was offered. If the House of Representatives would allow Missouri to join the Union as a Slave State, Maine could join as a Free State. The proposal was accepted. Maine joined in 1820, and Missouri joined in 1821.

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