Lead: In 1820 Henry Clay helped broker a compromise that, for a time at least, calmed the growing sectional passion over slavery. It was in the prophetic words of Thomas Jefferson, “a reprieve only, not a final sentence.”

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: The framers of the U.S. Constitution tried to put slavery to sleep. Compromises forecast an end to the external slave trade by 1808 and counted slaves as 3/5 of a human for the purposes of congressional apportionment. Most thought slavery was going to fade away. The eastern plantations were playing out and there loomed no cash crop on the horizon that would stimulate the demand for increased slaves. The following three decades were an era of population growth, heady nationalism and western expansion. The number of states had steadily grown. Sentiment against slavery had increased in the U.S. House of Representatives. This body reflected the increasing population in northern states where slavery was more and more held to be morally offensive. In the Senate a rough balance remained – eleven so-called free states, eleven slave states. This balance had been strictly maintained by alternating admissions, a slave state then a free state and so on.

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