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SIM Materials

SIM Curriculum - The Compromise of 1850

Discover curriculum materials for the Compromise of 1850 Senate Immersion Module experience at the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate

The United States acquired enormous amounts of territories at the end of the Mexican American War in 1848. Congress had to determine whether these new territories would allow slavery. In this historic SIM, students debate key issues that Congress wrestled with as it attempted to preserve the Union and resolve questions about slavery and westward expansion.

Students take on the roles of historic senators from the 31st Congress and consider problems such as

(1) The Texas Border dispute and California Statehood: how should the U.S. handle border disputes between free and existing slave states and territories?

(2) The Fugitive Slave Law: should the U.S. strengthen and extend existing laws requiring free states to return fugitive slaves to their masters?

(3) The DC Slave Trade: should Congress abolish the slave trade in the heart of the nation’s capitol?

Resolving these issues proved difficult for members of the Thirty-First Congress who engaged in heated debates. Students consider the different ideological and geographic concerns of former U.S. Senators, try to pass historic legislation and learn about the political and historical outcomes of The Compromise of 1850.

Created in 2014 by The Edward M. Kennedy Institute and Gigantic Mechanic

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