The Crittenden compromise and Fort Sumter



The Crittenden Compromise:

  • Was submitted to congress by Senator J. Crittenden on December 18, 1860
  • It was the last try by the “Compromise Forces” to avoid war.
  • The compromise consisted of, six proposed constitutional amendments and four proposed Congressional resolutions.
  • Heavily favored the South
  • Abraham Lincoln hated the plan
  • Would guarantee the south slavery below the Missouri Compromise line.
  • And would make it impossible to abolish slavery.
  • There would be slavery in the District of Columbia
  • Fugitive slaves if found had to be returned because they were still considered (lost and found) property.
  • Congress could not interfere with slave trading going from state to state.
  • It also provided for the disenabling of congress to pass a bill that would over ride the Crittenden compromise.
  • Republicans refused to agree to the bill because it went against there most important platform which was abolition.
  • Both the House of Representatives and the Senate rejected it.
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The Corwin Amendment:


  • Prohibited the power of congress to abolish slavery in an area that already had legalized slavery.
  • It passed the House as well as congress, with 2/3 majority.
  • Never got adopted because of the 13th amendment, which meant it was no longer needed.
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Fort Sumter:

  • After the seceding states formed the confederate states of America, they immediately began taking federal property such as Forts, Arsenals, etc. in the south.
  • Fort Sumter was a “military installation” off the coast of South Carolina in the harbor of Charleston.
  • Was defended by 80 union soldiers led by Major Robert Anderson
  • Was attacked by 500 confederate soldier led by brigadier General Beauregard.
  • Eventually union defenders began to run out of ammunition and food.
  • President Abraham Lincoln sent a merchant vessel, telling the southerners that if they did not attack the supply ship then the union would send no relief forces.
  • The next part of the battle for Fort Sumter is the most important because the South had been put in a very tough situation in which they would be forced to fire first.
  • The South attacked the ship and shots were fired back, this was the start of the civil war.
  • Eventually confederate leaders told General Beauregard to take the island by force; he obliged and began to bombard Fort Sumter from April 12-13, 1861.
  • On April 14 Major Robert Anderson surrendered.

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Fun and interesting facts:

  • Despite the fact that Senator J. Crittenden tried to bring unity to America, his two sons became generals on opposite sides of the war.
  • No one will admit that they fired the first shot when shots were fired between confederate soldiers and the merchant ship that was sent to provide additional troops and supplies.
  • The Corwin Amendment is technically still before the states for ratification, because it was submitted to the states without a time limit
  • Although there were no casualties during the battle of fort Sumter, one Union artillerist was killed and three wounded (one eventually died from his wounds) when a cannon exploded prematurely when firing a salute during the evacuation of Fort Sumter.
  • Anderson, the commanding officer at Fort Sumter, was Buearegaurds instructor at West Point. Prior to the bombardment, Buearegaurd sent a letter formally requesting surrender of the Fort. Anderson regretfully denied this offer, and the bombardment began.