Wilmot Proviso

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Wilmot Proviso,

1846, amendment to a bill put before the U.S. House of Representatives during the Mexican War; it provided an appropriation of $2 million to enable President Polk to negotiate a territorial settlement with Mexico. David WilmotWilmot, David,
1814–68, American legislator, b. Bethany, Pa. As a Democratic Congressman (1845–51) he became widely known as the author of the famous Wilmot Proviso, which helped build up sectional animosity before the Civil War.
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 introduced an amendment to the bill stipulating that none of the territory acquired in the Mexican War should be open to slavery. The amended bill was passed in the House, but the Senate adjourned without voting on it. In the next session of Congress (1847), a new bill providing for a $3-million appropriation was introduced, and Wilmot again proposed an antislavery amendment to it. The amended bill passed the House, but the Senate drew up its own bill, which excluded the proviso. The Wilmot Proviso created great bitterness between North and South and helped crystallize the conflict over the extension of slavery. In the election of 1848 the terms of the Wilmot Proviso, a definite challenge to proslavery groups, were ignored by the Whig and Democratic parties but were adopted by the Free-Soil partyFree-Soil party,
in U.S. history, political party that came into existence in 1847–48 chiefly because of rising opposition to the extension of slavery into any of the territories newly acquired from Mexico.
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. Later the Republican party also favored excluding slavery from new territories.


See C. W. Morrison, Democratic Politics and Sectionalism (1967).

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Wilmot Proviso


an amendment, introduced in the US Congress on Aug. 8,1846, by Representative D. Wilmot, that was attached to an appropriation bill giving President J. Polk $2 million to negotiate peace with Mexico and procure Mexican land. The Wilmot Proviso prohibited the establishment of slavery in any territory acquired from Mexico during the Mexican War (1846–48). Although the proviso was passed twice by the House of Representatives, it was rejected by the Senate, which reflected the deep division in the United States over the issue of slavery.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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