David Wilmot Introduces Proviso as Preventative Slavery Measure
The Wilmot Proviso was introduced on August 8, 1846, in the United States House of Representatives as a rider on a $2 million appropriations bill intended for the final negotiations to resolve the Mexican-American War.
The intent of the proviso, submitted by Democratic Congressman David Wilmot, was to prevent the introduction of slavery in any territory acquired from Mexico. The proviso did not pass in that session or in any other session when it was re-introduced over the course of the next several years, but many consider it as one of the first events on the long slide to secession and Civil War which would accelerate through the 1850s.
Wilmot Proviso, 1846, amendment to a bill put before the U.S. House of Representatives during the Mexican War; it provided an appropriation of $2 million to enable President Polk to negotiate a territorial settlement with Mexico. David Wilmot introduced an amendment to the bill stipulating that none of the territory acquired in the Mexican War should be open to slavery. The amended bill was passed in the House, but the Senate adjourned without voting on it. In the next session of Congress (1847), a new bill providing for a $3-million appropriation was introduced, and Wilmot again proposed an antislavery amendment to it. The amended bill passed the House, but the Senate drew up its own bill, which excluded the proviso. The Wilmot Proviso created great bitterness between North and South and helped crystallize the conflict over the extension of slavery. In the election of 1848 the terms of the Wilmot Proviso, a definite challenge to proslavery groups, were ignored by the Whig and Democratic parties but were adopted by the Free-Soil party. Later the Republican party also favored excluding slavery from new territories