Three of the most educated men of their times, were all fighting to save the Union. One thing that needs to be noted here: slavery was already an issue before the Civil War, The War Between the States, or The War of Rebellion.
The Compromise of 1850 speeches were led by Henry Clay. Clay begged the Senate to agree with his plan. He said it was fair to the North and fair to the South. If the Senate didn't agree to it, the southern states would try to with draw from the Union, and that, Clay said, would mean war. For he didn't believe that a state had the right to withdraw from the Union without the consent of the other states.
Webster began his speech by saying that he didn't wish to speak "as a Massachusetts man, nor as a northern man, but as an American." This is what all people that live in this country should take to heart--no matter what religion, state, or ethics--we are all Americans, period! He spoke for the Union, he said, for all the people, for all parts of the country. He believed that Clay's plan was fair. He believed that it would work. And he begged the Senate to vote for it.
Calhoun said that the plan wouldn't work. He pointed out that the North and the South had been drifting apart for many years. They were quarreling more and more often. Feelings had been hurt, and the boil was about to pop. It seemed to him that they were quarreling nearly all the time. Even if Clay's plan was adopted, he believed the quarrel would be sure to break out again. The only way to settle the quarrel, he said, was for Congress to divide the western territories fairly between the North and the South and let the southerners take slaves into their territories and make them slave states.
Congress adopted Clay's plan. The plan was known in history as the Compromise of 1850. The Compromise of the 1850 resulted, only to give an interval of harmony, and left the clash of principles unresolved. As the decade passed, new crises arose. But Calhoun was right, it didn't work! The quarrel broke out again and grew more and more bitter until the North and the South came to blows. Then there would be another war on the horizon.
But one great blessing was that the three statesmen were dead before the war began. Calhoun didn't see his prophecy come true, and Clay and Webster didn't know that their long years of effort to prevent war had failed.
Since the Compromise didn't work, things between the North and South were heating up. Tempers were exploding left and right. Many of the southern people were demanding slavery to be allowed in all the country. People in the North started a new political party, the Republican party, to oppose this. In 1860, they elected Abraham Lincoln President.
Next week: Part 2 Three Old Men: Lincoln Wept. I welcome all comments, suggestions, and inquires: firstname.lastname@example.org attn: Ms. Sylvia.