California State flag gift to Hoover, march 5, 1929. Library of congress Coll.

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In 1849 California used for admission to the United states as the 31st state. V the gold sirloin underway the territory’s worth was fine known throughout America. Moreover, statehood had the enthusiastic assistance of the growing variety of American inhabitants in California. One would have expected prompt activity by the national federal government of the application for statehood native a are as wealthy as California — a state that met every the legit requirements. What then was the difficulty that furious a heated debate in Congress and also delayed California statehood?

As it turned out, California’s application obtained entangled through the slavery dispute in between northern and southern states. In the beforehand 19th century the nation functioned under provisions of the 1820 Missouri Compromise. The will of the deteriorate was to maintain an equal number of complimentary and servant states. California, complying with its mexico heritage where enslavement was abolished in 1829, approved the prohibition of enslavement at a constitutional Convention. However, the involuntary servitude of indigenous Californians in ~ the Spanish goals was not taken into factor to consider by the State’s administer body. In the 1840s just a very couple of in California organized Black afri slaves. Indigenous the vantage point of the federal Government, a brand-new “free” State the California would upset the balance between free and servant states.


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U. S. Senate Chamber, 1850. Illustration by Aug. Köllner ; lith. By Deroy ; printed by Cattier. Library the Congress.

To preserve the balance, members of conference from the south called for splitting the brand-new State into one complimentary and one potential slave state. Under this proposal the division would have been as stated in the 1820 compromise at parallel 36 degrees 30 minute (36.5 levels North Latitude). The heat was set by expanding the southerly boundary that the State of Missouri west come California. The Compromise allowed Missouri to it is in admitted together a servant state yet required all brand-new state proposals phibìc of the heat to be free from slavery while those to the south would have the alternative of adopting the practice.


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Mountain Camp, Sierra Nevada. Squid on file by Daniel A. Jenks (1827–1869). Library of conference Collection.

Had this proposal been adopted, the line would have split California native the Pacific s at Carmel Highlands in Monterey County, across the main Valley 15 miles south of Fresno, end the Sierra Nevada hills 5 miles south of Mt. Whitney and also through fatality Valley 2 mile north that the nationwide Park Headquarters come the Nevada border. In 1850 the population north that this line was much greater 보다 that to the south. However today that would mean that over 60% that California’s populace would live in the State of southern California. Further, under the provisions of the 1820 Missouri Compromise, southern California would have had the choice of allow slavery.

The anti-slavery check out of most California settlers was clearly expressed in the February 22, 1849 execution of the Daily Alta California: “The majority — four-fifths, we think — of the residents of California space opposed come slavery. They believe it to it is in an evil and also wrong…and when they would rigidly and also faithfully safeguard the vested rights of the South, they deem it a high moral duty to avoid its expansion and aid its die out by every honorable means.”

California’s applications for statehood was collection in movement with the armed forces defeat of Mexico in 1848. On February 2, 1848 the treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo conveyed a an excellent section the Mexican territory in the American southwest to the united States, consisting of the area that today’s California. Prior to formal annexation, Americans had actually been establishing a presence in California. While many of the territory’s beforehand colonizers were of mexican or europe origin, by the 1840s scores of American immigrants had significantly changed California’s demography picture.

In September 1849 California hosted its very first Constitutional Convention. The conference in Monterey was attended by 48 delegates, simply six that whom to be born in California, and also most that whom to be from states east of the Mississippi River. A resolution unanimously adopted by the Convention re-emphasized the opposition to slavery: “Neither enslavement nor involuntary servitude, unless for penalty of crimes, shall ever before be tolerated in this State.” The structure was approved by the electorate on November 13, 1849. The vote was 12,061 in favor and just 811 against.


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Senator man Charles Fremont

In accord v the Constitution, a California State federal government was formally developed on December 20, 1849. No precedent existed because that the development of a State government prior to an allowing act by Congress. Nevertheless, Californians made decision to proceed and send to represent to Washington come petition for admission to the Union. In march 1850 California’s elected Senators, J. C. Fremont and also W. M. Gwin, along with Representatives Gilbert and also Wright, submitted duplicates of the brand-new Constitution and also requested, “In the surname of the people of California, the join of the State of California into the American Union.”


Henry Clay, indigenous the original photo by W.J. Hubard.Henry Clay. Retrieved from the Library that Congress.

The come of the California representatives brought about a near panic amongst members of congress from the South. They observed the imminent prospect of shedding the wealthiest territory acquired in the win over Mexico. Henry Clay, Senator indigenous Kentucky, was determined to discover a solution that would preserve the union. In 1820 he had fashioned the Missouri Compromise. And also once again, 30 years later, that resumed work-related on the thorny worry of keeping a balance in between slave and free states. ~ above January 29, 1850 Clay introduced a fiercely disputed compromise. Clay’s proposal ultimately came to be the compromise of 1850. It had several statutes:

- one Act entitled “An act respecting Fugitives from Justice, and also Person escaping native the organization of their Masters.” This act of the damage was said to be important to attract sufficient southern votes to secure i of Clay’s whole proposal. “The Fugitive slave Act”, together it was also known, to be responsible for a reign of terror throughout the country as Africans, both free and escaped slaves, to be rounded up and, there is no trial, went back to slavery in the south.

- an Act to suppress the servant Trade carried out in the district of Columbia.

- An action to develop a Territorial government for Utah.

- one Act establishing the boundaries of the State the Texas.

- an Act for the join of the State that California into the Union together a totally free state.

The bill the made California the 31st state to be signed into law by president Fillmore on September 9, 1850. The word of statehood was brought to California top top the mail steamer Oregon.

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The Oregon did not reach California until October 16th at san Diego and also on the 18th in the bay Area. Upon reaching the only the Oregon was first required to submit a mission report in ~ squadron headquarters in Sausalito. The pause to report permitted some residents of Marin ar to it is in the very first in the only Area to know California was granted statehood on September 9th.

As the Oregon gone into San Francisco Bay, papers from the east were thrown overboard, recovered indigenous the water and also brought to the workplaces of the Daily Alta California whereby an “Extra” was instantly published through the news that California’s entrance right into the union. Celebrations damaged out in Washington when the statehood bill was passed and six weeks later with the arrival of the news come California. ~ above October 19, 1850 the Daily Alta California expressed the this way:

“We have never viewed so general and also joyous an excitement, nor anything similar to it, together that which has actually resulted in this city from the news received below yesterday.”