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By Louise Chipley Slavicek

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Presidency. (the time between when a new president is elected and when he takes office) lasting until Lincoln’s inauguration in March. Meanwhile, Congress debated several different compromise plans. q 6/19/03 11:11 PM Page 52 ABRAHAM LINCOLN Crittendon Compromise, sought to end the crisis by splitting the territories between free and slave. The presidentelect, however, made it clear that he would never support a proposal involving the extension of slavery, and the scheme quickly died. THE CIVIL WAR BEGINS During the final weeks of Buchanan’s presidency, the Confederates took control of most federal forts in the lower South.

Q 6/19/03 11:13 PM Page 34 ABRAHAM LINCOLN war had started. The president paid no attention whatsoever to the freshman congressman from Illinois, but back home Abe’s Democratic rivals gleefully nicknamed him “Spotty” Lincoln. In the wake of this embarrassing episode, Lincoln threw himself into a new cause—the 1848 presidential election. Ironically, the Whig nominee, Zachary Taylor, was a hero of the Mexican–American War, which officially ended in February 1848, when Mexico recognized Texas as part of the United States and relinquished California and New Mexico.

Despite the widening gulf between North and South, sectional resentments remained in the background of the national political scene until Missouri’s bid for statehood. Because it would give the slaveholding South a majority in the Senate, Northern congressmen stubbornly refused to admit Missouri as a slave state. Finally, under Clay’s compromise, free Maine was admitted with Missouri to maintain the North – South balance in the Senate and to forestall future problems, slavery was henceforth prohibited in the Louisiana territories north of 36° 30' latitude.

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