The Secession Winter of 1861: Part Three
The Crittenein Compromise was the earliest of the efforts to find a way to bring the seceding states back into the Union and to calm the fears of the people in the Boarder States. Senator John Crittenden pulled together leaders who met in Washington City. His committee suggested that several constitutional amendments be adopted.
- To declare slavery inviolate except by state law.
- To compensate owners of fugitive slaves not returned to their owner.
- To extend the Missouri Compromise line to the Pacific.
The president-elect, Abraham Lincoln, agreed to support the first to suggested amendments, but not the third.
The second effort at compromise was made by the members of the Peace Convention. The creation of this body was suggested by the Virginia legislature. One hundred thirty three delegates from twenty one states met at the Willard Hotel in Washington City.
They and suggested several constitutional amendments. Some were similar to the Crtitenden proposals. Significantly different was one proposal calling for an amendment that would prevent Congress, by law, and the people, by amendment, from ever interfering with slavery in any state.
The House of Representatives passed this recommendation on February 27, 1861 as the Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States. It was immediately sent to the states for ratification.
Lincoln supported the adoption of this amendment and throughout the winter of 1861, continued to insist that his administration would not interfere with slavery where it already existed.
Neither the prospect of the adoption of this amendment to the Constitution of the United States, nor Lincoln’s assurances had any effect. None of the secession states returned to the Union.