The Crittenden Compromise (December 18, 1860) was an unsuccessful proposal by Kentucky Senator John J. Crittenden to resolve the U.S. secession crisis of 1860–1861 by addressing the concerns that led the states in the Deep South of the United States to contemplate secession from the United States.
* 1 Background
* 2 Summary
o 2.1 Amendments to the Constitution
o 2.2 Fugitive Slave Laws
* 3 Footnotes
* 4 See also
The compromise consisted of a preamble, six proposed constitutional amendments and four proposed Congressional resolutions. Both the House of Representatives and the Senate rejected it in 1861. It was widely perceived as making heavy concessions to the South, but perhaps the most significant aspect of it was Abraham Lincoln's immediate rejection, because he was elected on a platform that opposed the expansion of slavery. The South's reaction to his rejection paved the way for the American Civil War.
There were many unpopular features of the compromise that led to its failure. It guaranteed the permanent existence of slavery in the slave states and addressed Southern demands in regard to fugitive slaves and slavery in the District of Columbia. But the heart of the compromise was the permanent reestablishment of the Missouri Compromise line: slavery would be prohibited north of the 36° 30′ parallel and guaranteed south of it. The compromise, furthermore, included a clause that it could not be repealed or amended.
The compromise was popular among Southern delegates in the Senate, but it was generally unacceptable to the Republicans (free soilers) who believed that slavery must not be allowed to expand. One of these Republicans was Abraham Lincoln, who condemned the compromise as one that did not deal with the future of slavery in America. Republicans declared that if the compromise were accepted, it "would amount to a perpetual covenant of war against every people,...