Question Two: Wilmot Proviso
Was the Wilmot Proviso the first political shot of the Civil War? Explain.
The Wilmot Proviso was first prompted by the ending of the Mexican-American War. The war was a conflict between Mexico and the United States during 1846 to 1848. After the annexation of Texas, the United States’ relationship with Mexico was getting more tense. The U.S. had a blockade off the coast of Mexico, and went South through California in order to physically invade parts of Mexico. Those who opposed the war were either Whig or anti-“the spread of slavery.” This is because those who were against the institution of slavery did not want to acquire new territory: with the acquisition of new territory came new potential for more plantations. The end result of the war resulted in the negotiation (under the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo) to attain Texas, as well as the rest of the land to the Pacific Ocean. This total expanse attained nearly half of Mexico.
Fighting over slavery expansion also occurred on the floors of Congress. In 1846, shortly after the violence in Mexico startred, James K. Polk requested two million dollars to be appropriated to expand land. Representative David Wilmot of Pennsylvania, fearful of the southern “slavocracy”, introduced an amendment, stipulating that slavery should never exist in any of the territory acquired from Mexico. Those who were in favor of Wilmot’s amendment were against slavery, while those who were opposed to the plan were for the institution of slavery. Though popular in the House, the bill never passed in the Senate. Southern senators did not want the bill to pass, and wanted to gain equal slave land for free land. The “Wilmot Proviso” never became fedderal law, but it was eventually endorsed by free states in legislatures, providing evidence that slavery was a pressing issue.
The Wilmot Proviso was ultimately the first political shot of the Civil War. It signified the battle between those who embraced...
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