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Civil War Encyclopedia >> Politics
Founded by disgruntled anti-slavery Democrats who pledged to support the Wilmot Proviso, the Freesoil Party showed some success in wooing the abolitionist vote in both the 1848 and 1852 elections. Major issues for the party included admission of the state of California as a free state and the passing of the Wilmot Proviso in the Senate. In addition to David Wilmot, the party claimed a pretty impressive roster - Martin Van Buren, Salmon Chase and John Hale.
In spite of the fact that neither the Whig or Democratic Party would endorse the Proviso, by November, 1849, each of the Northern States legislatures had passed resolutions supporting the Proviso, but with the Senate divided along regional lines, there was little chance the resolutions would have an effect in Congress. It did have an effect among the Southern planters. Increasingly, this vocal bloc of voters became fearful that they would lose the "right" to hold slaves and that the federal government would essentially take their property without re-imbursement.
In February, 1856 the last Free-soil congressman joined the Republican Party.
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Free-Soil Party was added in 2005
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