Compromise of 1850 , in United States history, five congressional bills that dealt with slavery, especially with its extension into the land won from Mexico. The Compromise provided for California's admission to the Union as a free state; for organization of New Mexico and Utah as territories without restrictions on slavery; for a more strict fugitive slave law; and for abolition of the slave trade in the District of Columbia.
In late 1849 President Zachary Taylor had proposed that California and New Mexico be admitted to the Union as free states. His recommendations began a long debate in which the North sought to bar slavery in any new territories and the South fought equally hard for no restrictions. In January, 1850, Senator Henry Clay suggested a series of resolutions designed to lessen tensions and to grant each side some measure of their desires. A Senate committee drafted Clay's proposals into the so-called Omnibus Bill. Although most of its provisions were defeated, it formed the basis for framing the Compromise bills.
Senators Daniel Webster and Stephen A. Douglas spoke eloquently in favor of the Compromise. After many months, with no better settlement in sight, both sides grudgingly accepted the Compromise. Millard Fillmore, who had become President upon Taylor's death, signed the Compromise bills in September.