Wilmot Proviso

Wilmot Proviso


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David Wilmot, whose name is associated with the Wilmot Proviso, was born Bethany, Pennsylvania, in 1814 and took up the practice of law in Towanda. He served as as a Democratic member of Congress from 1845 to 1851.In 1846, during the Mexican War, the House of Representatives considered an appropriations bill designed to provide $2,000,000 for negotiating with the Mexican government. Passed again by the House in 1847, the proviso was defeated largely by the opposition of Senator John C. Calhoun of South Carolina.The position espoused in the Wilmot Proviso was the basic plank of the Free-Soil Party platform and would later become a fundamental position of the new Republican Party.Measures prohibiting the spread of slavery would be introduced repeatedly by Northern lawmakers in the coming years, thus sharpening tensions between the regions. Calhoun's opposition gave him the chance to propose further resolutions to the effect that that the federal government had no role regarding restrictions on slavery in territories.For a measure that never passed both houses of Congress, the Wilmot Proviso was remarkably important in the history of the time.


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