1850 – U.S. Senator Daniel Webster endorsed the Compromise of 1850 as a method of preserving the Union.


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On March 7, 1850, U.S. nationalist and statesman Daniel Webster delivered a three-hour speech on the issue of states’ rights to permit slavery. Five months later, Congress approved the Compromise of 1850 in order to preserve the Union.

Compromise Generates Criticism

Following the Mexican-American War and the annexation of Texas, Congress wondered whether or not new U.S. western territories would permit slavery. In 1849, California’s request to join the Union as a free state threatened to upset the balance between free and slave states in the Senate.

Kentucky Sen. Henry Clay proposed a solution that called for the admission of California as a free state, the abolition of slave trade in the nation’s capital, and the amendment of the Fugitive Slave Act.

South Carolina Sen. John C. Calhoun challenged the compromise, but Sen. Daniel Webster of Massachusetts stood behind Clay.

In a famous three-hour speech to the U.S. Senate, Webster claimed that slavery could not be eradicated where it already existed, but argued that it should not take root in new U.S. territories. However, he insisted that citizens abide by the Fugitive Slave Act and return escaped slaves to their Southern owners.

While Webster’s speech won him praise from moderates on both sides, he faced outrage from Northern abolitionists and lost the public support of many of his New England colleagues.

The Senate debated Clay’s proposal for seven months. The Compromise of 1850 was finally enacted in September, at which point it also established a territorial government in Utah and New Mexico and settled a boundary dispute between Texas and New Mexico.

It failed to provide a permanent solution to the issue of slavery, however, and disagreements between the North and South divided the Union in the following decades.

Biography: Daniel Webster (1782–1852)

Born in 1782, Daniel Webster grew up in New Hampshire and attended Dartmouth College. He began his political career 1812 as a New Hampshire state congressman before becoming a U.S. representative and senator from Massachusetts. A distinguished lawyer, he also argued and won several notable Supreme Court cases in his career.

He was recognized in the Senate as one of America’s great orators and leading advocates of nationalism. After unsuccessful bids for the presidency, he was nominated a secretary of state, serving from 1841 to 1843 before returning to the Senate.

His endorsement of the Compromise of 1850 angered many of his constituents; knowing that he would likely be voted out of office, he accepted President Millard Fillmore’s offer to become secretary of state in July 1850. He made a final bid for the presidency in 1852, but could not secure the Whig Party’s nomination. He died later that year on Oct. 24.
Reference: The Compromise of 1850 and Webster’s Speech
Our Documents contains a transcript of the original compromise, as proposed by Clay on Jan. 29, 1850, as well as a handwritten copy of the draft.

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Selma ~ In Memory of ~ 55 years ago


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  March on Selma

This month marks the 50th anniversary of the 1965 marches in Selma, Alabama — a moment in American history that is layered with bravery, fear, hope, hatred, violence, perseverance, and triumph.

In many ways, Selma is the quintessential American story of people banding together against all odds to stand up for the promise of freedom and fairness. It is a story that deserves to be told, explored and understood by every American in this country.
Whether we realize it or not, every one of us was touched by this courageous moment that is often considered the emotional and political peak of the Civil Rights Movement.

It is because of events like the Selma marches … and the entire Civil Rights Movement … that makes the completing of the National Museum of African American History and Culture on the National Mall so important.

The construction of the Museum is more than halfway complete. But to ensure we can open the Museum’s doors in early fall of next year as scheduled requires additional support from those of us who understand the importance of building this place of remembrance, celebration and reconciliation. Please help keep us on track with a donation of $ 25 or more today.

When I think of African American history, I often think of Selma, Alabama and the Civil Rights crusaders who made the historic marches and all of the African-American heroes, famous and not famous, and the white supporters who came together to push freedom forward.

I’m thinking of people like Amelia Boynton who was beaten, tear-gassed, and left for dead during the Bloody Sunday March. Ms. Boynton lived to tell her story and she is now 103 years old. But it is up to people like you and me to build our Museum to make sure her brave story lives on forever.

That is why the Museum embarked on the very important task of interviewing people who were foot soldiers in the Civil Rights Movement, to give them the chance to tell their stories and have them preserved and shared in ways that resonate with people from all backgrounds.

So as we spend this month commemorating the heroes who courageously marched from Selma to Montgomery in 1965, please take your celebration one step further by making a special contribution of $ 25 or more to the Museum that will forever share this important history with the world.

On behalf of the entire Museum, thank you again for your leadership and support.
All the best,

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Lonnie G. Bunch
Founding Director

Selma~ After Half a Century of Fighting for Justice — we press on ~ In memory History and a man who earned his Presidential medal of freedom



After Half a Century of Fighting for Justice.

Thanks to alan grayson … we are reminded who is fighting for the People and needs our Support

Contribute to:  John Lewis and Alan Grayson

There is a general impression, on the part of many, that the Sixties was a decade-long haze of drugs and free love.  I can’t really say, since I was born in 1958.  I know one person, however, who certainly did not experience it that way.   That person is Congressman John Lewis.
John Lewis was one of the original 13 Freedom Riders, who challenged racial segregation on the buses in the South.  He also was the Chairman of the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee.
In 1961 and 1962, Lewis was arrested.  Twenty-four times.
In Anniston, Alabama, Klan members deflated the tires of a bus that Lewis and the other Freedom Riders had boarded.  Then they firebombed it.
In Birmingham, Lewis was beaten.  In Rock Hill, South Carolina, two white men punched Lewis in the face, and kicked him in the ribs.
In Montgomery, a mob met the bus, took Lewis off the bus, knocked him over the head with a wooden crate, and left him unconscious on the bus station floor.
On one day in 1965, a day known as “Bloody Sunday,” Alabama state troopers in Selma hit civil rights demonstrators with tear gas, charged into them, and beat them with clubs.  They broke John Lewis’s skull.
I’ve seen the scars on his head.
Somehow, all of that . . . pain . . . forged an outstanding Congressman.   A champion on universal healthcare.  A forceful proponent of gay rights.  An apostle of peace.
This month, for only the second time in his 26 years in Congress, John Lewis faces a primary challenge.  I don’t know who is running against him, and I don’t really care.  Whoever he is, he has not earned the job the way that John Lewis has, and he can’t do the job the way that John Lewis does it.
I’m just glad that there are people like John Lewis in Congress.

I’m asking you to help re-elect this great man, and this great leader.  You’ll feel good to help him, just as I feel good to know him.  Click here.
Courage,

Alan Grayson