1. In order to maintain the two great political parties as vital bonds of national unity, early nineteenth century politicians avoided public discussion of slavery 2. The US’s victory in the Mexican War resulted in renewed controversy over the issue of extending slavery into the territories, a possible split in the Whig and Democrat parties over slavery, the cession by Mexico of an enormous amount of land to the US, and a rush of settlers to new American territory in California 3. The Wilmot Proviso, if adopted, would have prohibited slavery in any territory acquired in the Mexican War 4. The debate over slavery in the Mexican Cession threatened to split national politics along North-South lines 5. In 1848, the Free Soil party platform advocated all of the following: support of the Wilmot Proviso; free government homesteads for settlers; opposition to slavery in the territories; and an end to slavery in the District of Columbia 6. Presidential candidates in the 1848 election included Martin Van Buren, Lewis Cass, and Zachary Taylor 7. According to the principle of “popular sovereignty,” the question of slavery in the territories would be determined by the vote of the people in any given territory 8. The public liked popular sovereignty because it fit in with the democratic tradition of self-determination 9. In the 1848 presidential election, the Democratic and Whig parties remained silent on the issue of slavery 10. The key issue for the major parties in the 1848 presidential election was personalities 11. The event that brought turmoil to the administration of Zachary Taylor was the discovery of gold in California 12. The Free Soldiers argued that slavery would cause more costly wage labor to wither away 13. Of those people going to California during the gold rush, a distressingly high proportion were lawless men 14. The Free Soldiers condemned slavery because it destroyed the chances of free white workers to rise...
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