Manuscript/Mixed Material Daniel Webster's notes for his speech to the United States Senate favoring the Compromise of 1850, 7 March 1850.

About this Item

Title
Daniel Webster's notes for his speech to the United States Senate favoring the Compromise of 1850, 7 March 1850.
Created / Published
7 March 1850
Subject Headings
-  Slavery
-  Abolitionism
-  Antislavery movements
-  Clay, Henry (1777-1852)
-  Compromise of 1850
-  Congress
-  Legislators
-  Sectionalism (U.S.)
-  Speeches
-  Webster, Daniel (1782-1852)
-  Abolitionists
-  Fugitive slaves
-  "Ichabod" (poem)
-  Mexican War, 1846-1848
-  Slave-trade
-  United States Senate
-  Manuscripts
Genre
Manuscripts
Notes
-  Reproduction number: A82 (color slide); LC-MSS-44925-2 (B&W negative)
-  Daniel Webster (1782-1852), United States senator from Massachusetts, rose on 7 March 1850 to support a complex series of statutes introduced by Henry Clay (1777-1852) of Kentucky that came to be known as "The Compromise of 1850." This "Seventh of March" speech, which Webster preferred to call his "Constitution and the Union" speech, contained the famous opening lines, "I wish to speak to-day, not as a Massachusetts man, nor as a Northern man, but as an American, and a member of the Senate of the United States." These lines are reflected in Webster's notes for the exordium (or beginning) of his speech.
-  The genesis of Clay's compromise resolutions was the territorial accessions to the United States resulting from the war with Mexico, thereby thrusting the question of the expansion of slavery dramatically to the forefront once again. Webster, in speaking in support of Clay, was attempting to close the widening gap between the North and South, and in these same introductory remarks said "I speak to-day for the preservation of the Union. 'Hear me for my cause'." One of the most controversial speeches ever heard in the Senate, its espousal of compromise measures won approval in many quarters, but outraged much of New England. A proviso for a new and more stringent fugitive slave law was especially galling and led the poet and abolitionist John Greenleaf Whittier (1807-1892) to declare of Webster in his poem "Ichabod," All else is gone; from those great eyes / The soul has fled: / When faith is lost, when honor dies, / The man is dead.
-  The compromise measures were later introduced and passed as separate bills in September 1850. These provided for California to be admitted to the Union as a free state, abolished the slave trade in the District of Columbia, allowed the question of slavery in Utah and New Mexico territories to be decided by popular sovereignty, settled Texas border disputes, and amended the Fugitive Slave Act. The issues in contention between the sections did not go away, but civil war was deferred for another decade.
Source Collection
Daniel Webster Papers
Repository
Manuscript Division
Online Format
image
IIIF Presentation Manifest
Manifest (JSON/LD)

Rights & Access

More about Copyright and other Restrictions

For guidance about compiling full citations consult Citing Primary Sources.

Cite This Item

Citations are generated automatically from bibliographic data as a convenience, and may not be complete or accurate.

Chicago citation style:

Daniel Webster's notes for his speech to the United States Senate favoring the Compromise of , 7 March. 7 March, 1850. Manuscript/Mixed Material. https://www.loc.gov/item/mcc.091/.

APA citation style:

(1850) Daniel Webster's notes for his speech to the United States Senate favoring the Compromise of , 7 March. 7 March. [Manuscript/Mixed Material] Retrieved from the Library of Congress, https://www.loc.gov/item/mcc.091/.

MLA citation style:

Daniel Webster's notes for his speech to the United States Senate favoring the Compromise of , 7 March. 7 March, 1850. Manuscript/Mixed Material. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, <www.loc.gov/item/mcc.091/>.

More Manuscripts/Mixed Material like this