The Wilmot Proviso And The Civil War

1614 WordsJan 3, 20167 Pages
The Wilmot Proviso After the Mexican War had ended, a Democratic congressman from PA, David Wilmot, gave a provocative speech to the House that endorsed the annexation of Texas as a slave state on August 8 of 1846. Because Mexico now forbade slavery, Wilmot declared that if any new territory were to be acquired from Mexico, there should be no slavery or involuntary servitude there. His Proviso sparked new political conflict and debate over the extension of slavery and tested the Missouri Compromise that had protected both slave states and free states and not permitting it in newly admitted states. With newly acquired territory from the Mexican War, the national debate continued and in 1846, the House of Representatives passed the Wilmot Proviso but it did not pass through the Senate. President Polk decided that the debate over slavery had nothing to do with the war in Mexico and dismissed the proviso as mischievous and foolish”. Furthermore, the president convinced Wilmot to withhold his amendment from any bill in relation with the annexation of Mexican territories. Although his proviso did not pass, his idea kept appearing in Congress years after. People who opposed his Proviso wrote a thesis to counter the proviso such as John C. Calhoun. Calhoun declared that slavery should be allowed in the Mexican territory because per the Fifth Amendment, people were granted life, liberty and property; slaves were property. Thus the topic of slavery played a prominent role in dividing
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