What is Popular Sovereignty?
In 1800s America, states were given the right to decide whether or not to become slave states or free states. This idea was called popular sovereignty. This idea was instilled to prevent conflict among states; however, with the addition of California into the union, the balance of power would be shifted based on whether or not California would choose to be a slave state. This caused dissent between slave states and free states. In an attempt to quell this conflict, the Compromise of 1850 was created. It established that California was to be a free state, slave trade was banned in Washington D.C., efforts to capture escaped slaves would increase, and New Mexico and Utah would be given freedom to decide their laws on slavery. Ultimately, this did not completely quell the conflicts and this would be one issue that led to the Civil War.