AP U.S. History
1850’s- The Decade of Crisis
1. Wilmot Proviso was an amendment proposed, by democrat David Wilmot, to the bill for peace with Mexico in 1846. The amendment stated that all land attained in the treaty with Mexico would be slave free. This proposed amendment would be a debated for years and set out a pressing issue dealing with westward expansion. Southerners thought it was unfair because, “all Americans should have equal rights, including the right to move their property.” Polk tried to compromise by suggesting that we expand the Missouri Compromise line to the Pacific Ocean, with the same rules no slavery in the north of the line and slavery would be allowed south of the line. Another idea that came into play, because of this issue was, “popular sovereignty,” each territory had the right to choose for themselves and with their own representative whether or not they would be free or slave territories. In the election of 1848 both parties tried to avoid this issue as much as possible and a new party formed. They new party opposed slavery as the Free-Soil Party, their candidate was Martin Van Buren. The Free-Soil Party supported the Wilmot Proviso. Although they did not win the election it was an important event in American politics and it showed the lack of capability the current parties had to please the people on the issues. This led to the fall of the second party system. 2. The Compromise of 1850 was a response to the issues with slavery and the proposed succession of many southern states. Henry Clay was the head of this compromise and believed it had to resolve all the issues or the compromise would not survive. So in an effort to do this, he combined all the proposals into one proposal and sent it to the legislature. It covered, California’s admission as a free state, territorial governments in lands from Mexico with no slavery restrictions, and slave trade was obliterated, but not slavery in the District of Columbia. There were...
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