-- Dilemmas of Compromise --

Wednesday February 27, 1861

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Peace Convention Offers Compromise

After almost three weeks of deliberation, the Peace Convention adopted and sent to Congress six proposed constitutional amendments to restore sectional harmony. Its key territorial provision, to extend the Missouri Compromise line west to the Pacific Ocean, did not reflect a convincing consensus. It was initially rejected, but, on reconsideration, barely passed. Virginia, the key to the non-secessionist South, voted against the provision.

The package resembled the Crittenden Compromise in extending the Missouri Compromise line of 36 degrees, 30 minutes westward to the Pacific, and providing for the existence of slavery south of the line. The Peace Convention resolutions were more favorable to the North, however. They made the future expansion of slavery unlikely by stipulating that new territories be acquired by treaties consented to by four-fifths of the Senate.

Presented to Congress just a few days before adjournment, the Peace Convention resolutions suffered the same negative fate as the Crittenden Compromise. On March 1, the House failed to muster the two-thirds vote necessary to bring the measure before it. The Senate, which considered the resolutions in the waning moments of its session on March 4, rejected them decisively, 28-7.

Bibliography: Nicolay and Hay, Lincoln, 3: 232-33; Gunderson, Old Gentlemen's Convention, pp. 85-95; Long, Civil War, p. 42-44; Rhodes, History, 3: 305-8.

Appointment of Confederate Commissioners

[Stars and Bars]

President Jefferson Davis appointed three commissioners to negotiate with the United States government and establish the legitimacy of the Confederacy.


Bibliography: Nicolay and Hay, Lincoln, 3: 396; Long, Civil War, p. 42; Rhodes, History, 3: 295.

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