Chapter

Antislavery Upheaval in the Capitol: The Wilmot Proviso Debates and the Widening Sectional Divide, 1846–1848

Corey M. Brooks

in Liberty Power

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print January 2016 | ISBN: 9780226307282
Published online September 2016 | e-ISBN: 9780226307312 | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.7208/chicago/9780226307312.003.0007
Antislavery Upheaval in the Capitol: The Wilmot Proviso Debates and the Widening Sectional Divide, 1846–1848

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This chapter highlights the extent to which many of the Liberty Party’s antislavery and anti-Slave Power arguments came to infiltrate congressional discourse in debates over the Wilmot Proviso, the policy first proposed in 1846 that the U.S. Congress bar slavery from all western territory acquired through the ongoing Mexican-American War. Over the ensuing congressional sessions, the vast majority of northern Whigs and Democrats went to great lengths to advocate non-extension of slavery and justified this demand with increasingly militant anti-Slave Power rhetoric. In the process, members registered, sometimes implicitly but often openly, the mounting antislavery constituent pressure that many mainstream northern congressmen now faced.

Keywords: Wilmot Proviso; Liberty Party; Slave Power; antislavery; non-extension; U.S. Congress

Chapter.  8341 words. 

Subjects: Political History

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