William Henry Seward: Speech on the Admission of California to Statehood(1850)
Explanation and Analysis of the Document
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 guarantees of protection for slavery in other territories. On January 21, 1850, President Zachary...
William H. Seward (Library of Congress)View Full Size