The Compromise of 1850 came before Congress an omnibus bill intended to keep the union together after the contentious debate over slavery and the movement to abolish the peculiar institution. The debate lingered around five issues which included:
1) Admitting California into the Union as a free state;
2) Leaving the option of legalizing slavery to the territories of New Mexico and Utah;
3) Allowing the new territory gained after the Mexican-American War either to prohibit slavery or to permit slavery in the territory;
4) The enactment of stronger fugitive slave laws; and
5) The abolition of the slave trade in the District of Columbia.
Ending slavery in the District of Columbia was a long, arduous, and hard fought battle for the abolitionist movement.