With 7 southern states already attempting to secede and form a new nation, Congress debated how to keep the Union together by law, coercion, or compromise.
Kentucky Senator John J. Crittenden, a member of the “Committee of Thirteen,” devised a compromise, a series of amendments to the Constitution in hopes of avoiding further secession threats. Essentially, it would guarantee slavery would remain in established states without government interference. It was later modified to the 36° 30’ parallel. Believing there is no compromise when it involves slavery, the proposal was denied by Lincoln stating it would set back all he had worked to achieve. As a result, the southern states proceeded to form an independent Confederate government.