Mr. Wilmot's Proviso

in The Constitution in Congress

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print January 2006 | ISBN: 9780226129167
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226131160 | DOI:
Mr. Wilmot's Proviso

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By the time the Thirtieth Congress in the United States first met in December 1847, the question of slavery in the territories, which Senator Cass had dismissed as premature, was becoming increasingly urgent. Mexico could satisfy legitimate demands for reparations only by ceding territory. California and New Mexico, broadly defined, were already in U.S. hands and ought to remain there. Military governments had been set up in the provinces in accordance with the laws of war. Without waiting for a peace treaty, Congress established territorial governments in New Mexico and California. When Congress met in December 1848, Senator Douglas was ready with a new proposal—the entire area acquired from Mexico should be admitted as a state under the name of California. The people of California should be permitted to form their own government and make their own decisions about slavery; there was no need for Congress to descend again.

Keywords: military governments; laws of war; territorial government; slavery; New Mexico

Chapter.  16389 words. 

Subjects: History of Law

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