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S. 225, Omnibus Bill and amendments relating to slavery in the territories, endorsement page, May 8–July 30, 1850

On May 8, 1850, Senator Henry Clay of Kentucky presented the select committee’s proposals, consolidating the resolutions into a single bill called an “omnibus”—the term for a large vehicle that carried diverse passengers. On this page, a clerk tracked the bill through numerous Senate debates, from its first reading in May to its collapse in July.

Records of the U.S. Senate, National Archives and Records Administration

S. 225, Omnibus Bill and amendments relating to slavery in the territories, endorsement page, May 8–July 30, 1850

The Compromise of 1850

Sectional disputes intensified as Congress considered the issue of slavery in the western territories acquired by the Mexican War. Senator Henry Clay of Kentucky attempted to diffuse the controversy by offering resolutions on slavery and western land. The Senate debated Clay’s proposals for seven months. When Clay’s proposal failed, Congress repackaged the proposal into a series of bills known as the Compromise of 1850. Key provisions included California’s admission as a free state, a stricter Fugitive Slave Act, and a ban on slave trading in Washington, D.C.