Millard Fillmore 1st Lady: Abigail
The United States and Britain signed the Clayton-Bulwer Treaty guaranteeing the neutrality of a future canal across Central America. In September, Congress passed the Compromise of 1850, which delayed conflict over slavery by admitting California as a free state, organizing the territories of Utah and New Mexico without reference to slavery, abolishing slavery in the District of Columbia, and establishing a stronger fugitive slave law.
Authorized a mission to Japan by Commodore Matthew C. Perry. Rejected in his bid for nomination for a full term by Northern antislavery Whigs, who favored Gen. Winfield Scott.
Franklin Pierce1st Lady: Jane
The Gadsden Purchase settled boundary disputes with Mexico and gave the United States a southern railway route to the Pacific.
The Kansas Nebraska Act, endorsed by Pierce despite misgivings, was adopted. The law touched off rivalry between pro- and anti-slavery settlers that eventually led to fighting. The Ostend Manifesto, a document detailing a plan to buy Cuba from Spain, caused a furor when it was leaked to the press.
Ordered federal troops into Kansas in an effort to end the fighting there. The Democrats, concerned about Pierce's connection with the Kansas issue, nominated James Buchanan for the presidency.
James Buchanan 1st Lady: Harriet Lane
Northern candidates opposing Buchanan won a majority in both houses of Congress.
John Brown was seized at Harpers Ferry and hanged for his attempt to start a slave revolt.
06/25/00 GRAPHIC HISTORY