Crittenden Compromise

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Crittenden Compromise

Crittenden Compromise, in U.S. history, unsuccessful last-minute effort to avert the Civil War. It was proposed in Congress as a constitutional amendment in Dec., 1860, by Sen. John J. Crittenden of Kentucky with support from the National Union party. Basically, it accepted the boundary between free and slave states that had been set by the Missouri Compromise (1820–21), extended the line to California, and assured the continuation of slavery where it already existed. In addition, it advocated slavery in the District of Columbia, upheld the fugitive slave law (1850) with minor modifications, and called for vigorous suppression of the African slave trade. At a peace conference called by the Virginia legislature in 1861, the compromise gained support from four border state delegations. Nevertheless, it failed in the House of Representatives in Jan., 1861, by a vote of 113 to 80 and in the Senate in March by a vote of 20 to 19. Its defeat made clear the inevitability of the Civil War.


See A. D. Kirwan, John J. Crittenden: The National Union Party Struggle for the Union (1962).

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References in periodicals archive ?
The Crittenden Compromise, for instance, was a legislative attempt to avert the dissolution of the Union by relenting on the question of the extension of slavery into the territories.
If Lincoln had agreed to the "hereafter clause" of the Crittenden Compromise allowing for the annexation of Cuba and other tropical territories, the south might have remained in the Union pursuing its dream of a slave empire and this policy, according to Kagan, would have become national policy.
The Crittenden Compromise, a last minute attempt to persuade the southern states to remain in the Union, was proposed by Sen.