Passage 72 1850 Compromise (A)
In 1850,the congress of the United States debated
an importtan compromise proposal.
The compromise dealt mostly with the national dispute over slavery.
The dispute threatened to split the northern
and southern parts of the country.There was a danger of war.
Many leaders in the north and south supported the compromise.
But President Zachary Taylor did not.
Taylor did not think there was a crisis.
He did not belive the dispute over slavery was as serious as others did
He had his own plan to settle one part of the dispute.
He would make the new territory of California a free state.
Slavery there would be banned.
Taylor's plan did not,however,settle other parts of the dispute.
It said nothing about laws on escaped slaves.
It said nothing about slavery in the nation's capital the District of Columbia.
It said nothing about the border dispute between Texas and New Mexico.
The congressional compromise was an attempt to settle all these problems
Senator Henry Clay of Kentucky,who had written the compromise
questioned the president's limited proposal.
Clay said:"Now what is the plan of the President?
Here are five problems...five wounds that are bleeding and threatening the life of the republic .
What is the President's plan?
Is it to heal all these wounds?
No such thing.It is to heal one of the five and to leave the other four to bleed more than ever."
While the debate continued in Washington,the situation in Texas and New Mexico got worse.
Texas claimed a large part of New Mexico, including the capital,Santa Fe.
Early in 1850,Texas sent a representative to Santa Fe to take control of the government.
The United States military commander in New Mexico advised the people not to recognize the man.
The governor of Texas was furious.
He decided to send state soldiers to enforce Texas's claims in New Mexico
He said if trouble broke out,the United States Government would be to blame
President Taylor rejected Texas's claims.
He told his secretary of war to send an order to the military commander in New Mexico.
The commander was to use force to oppose any attempt by Texas to seize the territory.
The secretary of war said he would not send such and order.
He believed that if fighting began southerners would hurry to the aid of Texas.
And that,he thought,might be the start of a southern struggle
against the federal government.
In a short time,the north and south would be at war.
When the secretary of war refused to sign the order,
President Taylor answered sharply."Then I will sign the order myself!"
Taylor had been a general before becoming president.
He said he would take command of the army himself to enforce the law.
And he said he was willing to hang anyone who rebelled against the union
President Taylor began writing a message to congress on the situation.
He never finished it.
On the afternoon of July 4,1850,Taylor attended an outdoor Independence Day ceremony.
The ceremony was held at the place
where a monument to America's first president,George Washington
was being built.The day was very hot and Taylor stood for a long time in the burning sun.
That night,he became sick with pains in his stomach.
Doctors were called to the White House.
But none of their treatments worked.
Five days later,President Taylor died.
Vice President Millard was sworn-in as president.