Californian Statehood?


The year 1848 was also the year that gold was discovered in California. The "gold rush" that ensued swelled the California population by tens of thousands. In a short time, California was more populated than Florida or Delaware. With the population growing rapidly, there was an immediate need to organize the state into a territorial government. This promptly caused a great uproar in Congress. Northerners insisted that the states be admitted as free territories. Southerners were convinced the entry of California and New Mexico as free territories would permanently put them at a disadvantage in the Senate, their one bastion of power. Senator John C. Calhoun of South Carolina, led the Southern attack. He warned that "if the rights of the South continued to be trampled, the South might secede". Congress became deadlocked over this issue. Fist fights developed on the House floor.

The South was in total shock, when Taylor (a fellow Southerner), suggested to break the deadlock by skipping the territorial stage and admitting the two states as free states. One Southern Democrat said:, "The South would never be degraded and enslaved by such a monstrous trick and injustice." Tempers continued to rise. Talk of secession became the norm. Taylor warned that if the Southerners continued their talk of secession, "he would personally lead an army to enforce the laws and hang any traitors he caught." This problem was temporarily solved with "The Compromise of 1850".