By the beginning of the 19th century, slavery in the U.S was firmly established with a series of statutes and penal codes enacted to regulate the activity of the slaves and all conduct involving slaves and free blacks. By 1820, the Congress was involved in a debate about how to divide the newly acquired territories into slaves and free states.
The Missouri Compromise, also known as the Compromise of 1820, was an agreement between the pro- and anti-slavery groups, regulating slavery in the western territories. It prohibited slavery in new states north of the border of the Arkansas territory, excluding Missouri.
In January 1850, Henry Clay presented a bill, the Compromise of 1850. The terms of the bill included a provision that Texas relinquish its disputed land in exchange for $10 million to be paid to Mexico. It was agreed that California would be admitted as a free state but the Fugitive Slave Act was passed to pacify pro-slavery states.
Source: Expansion of Slavery in the U.S.
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