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The Compromise of 1850


“We are constantly upbraided for entertaining the wish and intention to extend slavery. This is constantly thrown up to us on every opportunity and in every form, and the cry is raised that the Union is endangered by our course upon this very subject, and this argument is thrown out on every possible occasion that it is we who make these assaults and endanger the permanency of our institutions. It is not so. . . .
“I only wished to state that there is danger of the Union; that its foundations are shaken; and that they may probably fall, and I believe that they certainly will fall, if the people who have been dealing these blows so fast and so heavily do not cease the agitation of this subject.”
-Source: Senator Solomon W. Downs of Louisiana, The Congressional Globe, Volume 18, 1849
The author’s remarks in the excerpt most directly reflected which of the following developments during the mid-nineteenth century?
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