In the controversial â€œCompromise of 1850â€, which was a collection of legislations proposed by then Senator Henry Clay, various opinions were put forward during intense debates. Among the notable speeches were those of Daniel Webster who was in favor of Clay’s bill and of William Henry Seward and John C. Calhoun who were against the said bill.
Speaking in favor of the bill, Webster politely acknowledges the reasons of those who were against the bill, even providing explanations for the oppositions’ reasons. However, Webster’s arguments were too politically-centered, lacking the humaneness of the issue revolving around slavery – as if such issue could easily be understoodÂ and resolved through purely political perspective.
On the other hand, known great debater of his time John Calhoun also presented his opposition to Clay’s bill by throwing seriously profound questions â€“ questions that were sure to raise more questions as to the soundness and relevance of the bill during that time in the United States of America. His was a succinct speech that was well-planned to question motives and convictions especially of those pushing for the passage of the said bill.
Finally, William Henry Seward’s speech against the passage of Clay’s bill was, in my opinion, the strongest and therefore the most compelling among the three. Clearly comprehending the whole issue at hand in its context not just in the American people’s lives but in the lives of all humankind, Seward tackled the issue from its moral, social and political perspectives, highlighting on a Higher Law or God’s Law that governs the whole Universe, thus must not be ignored. He strongly appealed for serious consideration of God’s Law as the guiding principle for everyone’s final decision regarding the bill, reminding everyone of their moral obligations and of the inevitable Divine Judgment that each will have to face in the end.