Free Soil Party

 

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Free Soil Party
Th
is article contains an overview of the history of the Free Soil Party, its leaders, their beliefs and their amalgamation with the newly formed Republican Party in 1854.

Free Soil Party Summary
Summary of the Free Soil Party:
The Free Soil Party was created in 1848 to voice the views of the politicians who sought the abolishment of slavery and who wanted the new territories acquired by the United States to remain free states. The Free Soil Party consisted of politicians of various parties including the Democrats, the Whigs, the Liberty Party and the New York state anti-slavery group called the "Barnburners". The Free Soil Party eventually emerged as the new Republican Party in opposition to the 1854 Kansas-Nebraska Act.   

Free Soil Party History: The Barnburners
Why was the Free Soil Party created? What did the Free Soil Party stand for? What led to the emergence of the Free Soil Party in 1848? A number of events all relating to the abolishment of slavery led to the formation of the Free Soil Party. The first of these events was the emergence of an anti-slavery group called the "Barnburners". The "Barnburners" were opponents of slavery who wanted the new territories acquired by the United States to remain free. The "Barnburners" were the liberalist element of the Democratic party in New York state from 1842 to 1848 who were opposed to the conservative faction called the "Hunkers".

Free Soil Party History: The Wilmot Proviso of 1846
The Wilmot Proviso of 1846 was another event that prompted the creation of the Free Soil Party. The Wilmot Proviso was a resolution put forward by David Wilmot to amend the James Polk appropriations bill to gain funding for the settlement of the Mexican-American War. The Wilmot Proviso was rejected by the Senate who approved the appropriations bill without the proviso but David Wilmot had opened the issue of slavery to national politics and public debate by avoiding the 1836 "Gag Rule" which had suppressed all discussion in Congress of issues relating to slavery.

Free Soil Party History: The Creation of the Free Soil Party
The Democratic Party and the Whig Party both wanted to avoid party division in the election of 1848, so they virtually ignored the issue of slavery. The "Barnburners" were refused recognition at the 1848 Democratic national convention. The Democrats nominated Lewis Cass as their candidate. Lewis Cass was sympathetic to Southern slaveholders, and furious anti-slavery Democrats joined with the Barnburners in New York to create the Free Soil party.

Free Soil Party Slogan: "Free soil, Free speech, Free labor, and Free men"
The Free Soil Party slogan called for "Free soil, Free speech, Free labor, and Free men" which strongly appealed to all those who supported the
Abolitionist Movement together with unskilled laborers, small farmers, household servants and mill workers, who were concerned for their jobs at the prospect of black labor competition, whether slave or free, in the new territories. The Free Soil party held its convention in Buffalo, New York, in August 1848 and nominated Martin Van Buren for president and Charles Francis Adams (1807 - 1886) of Massachusetts for vice president.

Free Soil Party 1848: The 1848 Presidential Election
Three candidates contested the presidential election of 1848. First there was Lewis Cass of Michigan, the Democratic candidate who was an advocate of the Popular Sovereignty and Slavery doctrine allowing the people of each territory to have slavery or not as they chose. The second candidate was Martin Van Buren, the former President. Although a Democrat, Martin Van Buren did not favor the extension of slavery and was therefore nominated the candidate for the Free Soil party.  The Whig Party offered no statement of principles but their candidate was Zachary Taylor, the popular hero of the Mexican-American War, and Taylor was elected president.

Free Soil Party: Anti-Slavery Whigs join the Free Soilers
The Anti-slavery Whigs from Massachusetts, who became known as the Conscience Whigs, also wanted to halt the spread of slavery into new territories. The Anti-slavery Whigs disagreed with the Compromise of 1850 and successfully prevented the re-nomination of Millard Fillmore, its own incumbent, and completely destroyed the Whig Party. The Anti-slavery Whigs also joined the Free Soil Party.

Free Soil Party: Anti-Slavery Whigs join the Free Soilers
The Free Soilers nominated John Parker Hale, an abolitionist from New Hampshire, as their candidate for president in 1852. By then, however, interest in the Free Soil party had dwindled. Hale received only about five percent of the popular vote.

Free Soil Party: The Coalition
The Free Soil Party
was therefore a coalition of different groups (the Liberty Party, the Barnburners, Anti-slavery Whigs and Anti-slavery Democrats) who were united in their opposition to slavery.

 

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Free Soil Party: The 1852 Presidential Election
The Free Soilers
nominated John Parker Hale, an abolitionist from New Hampshire, as their candidate for president in 1852. But the Free Soil Party had not been able to make a significant impact with the public and John Hale received only about 5% of the popular vote.

Free Soil Party: The National Union Party
The defeat of the Free Soilers in the 1852 presidential election led to the establishment of the National Union Party  which was organized in 1854 in opposition to the extension of slavery and to further the beliefs of national interest above sectional interests and states' rights. Members of the Free Soil Party joined this new party.

Free Soil Party: The Republicans
The Free Soil Party and the newly formed National Union Party eventually emerged as the new Republican Party in opposition to the Kansas-Nebraska Act, which through the doctrine of Popular Sovereignty, allowed white male settlers in Kansas and Nebraska to decide whether they would allow slavery within each territory, contravening the terms of the Missouri Compromise of 1820 that retained the balance between slave and free states. The goal of new Republican Party was to stop the expansion of slavery, the same as the Free Soil Party. Abraham Lincoln won the U.S. presidential election in 1860. Following the election of Lincoln several southern states seceded from the Union and the establishment of the Confederacy unleashed the American Civil war (1861-1865).

Video of the US Presidents
The article on the History of the Nat. Republican Party provides a fast overview of the history of the US Government. The following Presidents of the USA video enables you to sit back and listen to the history of all the Presidents of the USA - a useful educational resource for kids, children and schools that complements the information found in the History of the Free Soil Party.

 

 

 

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