Portrait of David Wilmot

Introduced by Democratic Congressman David Wilmot of Pennsylvania, the Wilmot Proviso would have banned the extension of slavery into any territories Mexico ceded to the U.S. after the Mexican-American War. Although never enacted by Congress, the Wilmot Proviso hastened the division of the American political landscape along sectional lines, ultimately contributing to the onset of the Civil War. [Wikimedia Commons]

Wilmot Proviso Facts

1846

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  • The Wilmot Proviso was an amendment to an appropriations request for $2 million made by President James K. Polk to negotiate a settlement to the Mexican-American War.
  • Democratic Congressman David Wilmot of Pennsylvania introduced the Wilmot Proviso in the U.S. House of Representatives.
  • The Wilmot Proviso was first introduced in the U. S. House of Representatives on August 8, 1846.
  • The Wilmot Proviso would have banned the extension of slavery into any territories Mexico ceded to the U.S. at the conclusion of the Mexican-American War.
  • The first time the Wilmot Proviso was introduced in Congress, it passed in the House, but the Senate never voted on it.
  • Various forms of the Wilmot Proviso were introduced in Congress before the onset of the Civil War.
  • The Wilmot Proviso was never endorsed by the full Congress.
  • Congressional votes on the Wilmot Proviso were consistently based upon sectional, rather than party, interests.
  • The Wilmot Proviso crystallized the sectional differences that existed over slavery, and transformed the political landscape in the U.S., beginning with the demise of the Whig Party and the emergence of the Free Soil Party, which eventually evolved into the Republican Party.
  • Sectional differences hastened the division of the Democratic Party during the election of 1860, enabling Abraham Lincoln to ascend to the presidency with less than 40% of the popular vote, kindling the American Civil War.
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Citation Information

The following information is provided for citations.

  • Article Title Wilmot Proviso Facts
  • Coverage 1846
  • Author
  • Website Name American History Central
  • Access Date August 1, 2021
  • Publisher R.Squared Communications, LLC
  • Original Published Date
  • Date of Last Update February 17, 2021
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