White House chief of staff John Kelly said Monday that the Civil War was "caused by a lack of an ability to compromise".
In fact, many attempts were made to avert the Civil War through compromise — that is, by agreeing to allow slavery in some places.
The Missouri Compromise, in 1820, admitted Missouri to the union as a slave state; in exchange, it admitted Maine as a free state and barred slavery in most parts of the Louisiana Purchase territory north of a specified latitude. The Compromise of 1850 eliminated the slave trade from Washington, D.C., but also required citizens of free states to aid in the capture of fugitive slaves. The Kansas-Nebraska Act, which replaced the Missouri Compromise in 1854, let citizens of Kansas and Nebraska decide whether to allow slavery.
And, of course, there was the compromise that aided the very passage of the Constitution: the Three-Fifths Compromise, which counted slaves as three-fifths of a person for the purposes of congressional districting.
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