*Party division totals are based on election day results.
When Democrats retained control of the national legislature following the 1850 elections, the 32nd Congress (1851–1853) focused on linking East Coast to West through potential railroad routes to the Pacific Coast. Despite passage of the Compromise of 1850, the nation’s sectional crisis still simmered. The anti-slavery bestseller Uncle Tom’s Cabin made real the horrors of fugitive slave laws. Meanwhile, Southerners who feared the potential of a new free state obstructed the organization of the Nebraska Territory.