William Henry Seward: Speech on the Admission of California to Statehood


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In mid-1848 the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo transferred thousands of miles of Mexican territory to the United States. Debate over whether the newly acquired land would be opened to slavery began almost immediately. Thanks to the discovery of gold in 1849, California experienced fast population growth and had an immediate need for government. Southern leaders in the U.S. Congress, however, were reluctant to admit California as a free state without...