– Compromise of 1850 for Kids


This page describes the Compromise of 1850


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Compromise of 1850

Compromise of 1850 Activities on

Compromise of 1850 Complete Lesson Plan – This is a complete one-hour lesson plan for teaching the Compromise of 1850. It includes background information, suggestions for discussion, scripts, printable activities, important vocbulary and connections, the maps labeled below (with answer sheet), and the informational text sheet.
Front Page News – This activity requires students to design the front page of the fictional "Washington Gazette" the day after the Compromise of 1850. Students must create "taglines" for each of the four major points of the compromise as well as to draw symbols or icons representing each point
America in 1850 Label-me Map – This activity requires students to label the states and territories as they were in 1850. Click here for: Blank 1850 map


The Compromise of 1850 was primarily about the issue of slavery in America’s new territories acquired after the Mexican War, though other, less important issues were included as well. California had already adopted an anti-slavery constitution and appliedfor statehood. The question, then, was whether slavery should be allowed in the new territories. Both pro-slavery and anti-slavery advocates argued over the issue, yet neither side was strong enough to administer a plan of action.

The slavery issue quickly became a crisis that threatened the Union. In an attempt to maintain a balance between free and slave states, Henry Clay offered the famous compromise. Clay’s Compromise called for the admission of California as a free state, the organization of the new territories of New Mexico and Utah, with the slavery issue left to those citizens, settlement of border disputes between Texas and New Mexico, a prohibition of slave trade in the District of Columbia, and a more stringent Fugitive Slave Law
which outlined penalties for individuals who harbored runaway slaves. The compromise was accepted by moderates throughout the country, and may have postponed southern secession for a decade.

Although the Compromise of 1850 was a good temporary solution, its precedent led to future violence in Kansas, and ultimately, could not prevent the onset of the Civil War eleven years later.

United States of America in 1850