History Set Unit 5 Combined - Elizabeth Grossi

Terms in this set (42)

Proposed that slavery be banned in all of the gains of Mexican American war. David Wilmot proposal divided both parties along sectional lines.

The Pennsylvania representative was so adamantly against the extension of slavery to lands ceded by Mexico, he made a proposition that would divide the Congress. On August 8, 1846, Wilmot introduced legislation in the House that boldly declared, "neither slavery nor involuntary servitude shall ever exist" in lands won in the Mexican-American War. If he was not opposed to slavery, why would Wilmot propose such an action? Why would the north, which only contained a small, but growing minority, of abolitionists, agree?

Wilmot and other northerners were angered by President Polk. They felt that the entire Cabinet and national agenda were dominated by southern minds and southern principles. Polk was willing to fight for southern territory, but proved willing to compromise when it came to the north. Polk had lowered the tariff and denied funds for internal improvements, both to the dismay of northerners. Now they felt a war was being fought to extend the southern way of life. The term "Slave Power" jumped off the lips of northern lawmakers when they angrily referred to their southern colleagues. It was time for northerners to be heard.

He envisioned California as a place where free white Pennsylvanians could work without the competition of slave labor. Since the north was more populous and had more Representatives in the House, the Wilmot Proviso passed. Laws require the approval of both houses of Congress, however. The Senate, equally divided between free states and slave states could not muster the majority necessary for approval. Angrily the House passed Wilmot's Proviso several times, all to no avail. It would never become law.