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- Free Soil Party
The Free Soil Party was a short-lived political party in the United States active from to , when it merged into the Republican Party. The party was largely focused on the single issue of opposing the expansion of slavery into the western territories of the United States. The Free Soil Party formed during the presidential election , which took place in the aftermath of the Mexican—American War and debates over the extension of slavery into the Mexican Cession. After the Whig Party and the Democratic Party nominated presidential candidates who were unwilling to rule out the extension of slavery into the Mexican Cession, anti-slavery Democrats and Whigs joined with members of the abolitionist Liberty Party to form the new Free Soil Party.
Though Van Buren and many other Free Soil supporters rejoined the Democrats or the Whigs immediately after the election, Free Soilers retained a presence in Congress over the next six years. Led by individuals like Salmon P. Chase of Ohio, John P. Hale of New Hampshire, and Charles Sumner of Massachusetts, the Free Soilers strongly opposed the Compromise of , which temporarily settled the issue of slavery in the Mexican Cession.
Hale ran as the party's presidential candidate in the presidential election , taking just under five percent of the vote. The Kansas—Nebraska Act repealed the long-standing Missouri Compromise and outraged many Northerners, contributing to the collapse of the Whigs and spurring the creation of a new, broad-based anti-slavery party known as the Republican Party.
Though William Lloyd Garrison and most other abolitionists of the s had generally shunned the political system, in a small group of abolitionists founded the Liberty Party , a third party dedicated to the immediate abolition of slavery.
The Liberty Party nominated James G. Birney for president and Thomas Earle for vice president in the presidential election.
Most leaders of both parties opposed opening the question of annexation in due to their fear of stoking the debate over slavery; the annexation of Texas was widely viewed as a pro-slavery initiative because it would add another slave state to the union.
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Calhoun reached a treaty with Texas providing for the annexation of that country. Polk , and approved a platform calling for the acquisition of both Texas and Oregon Country. The number of voters casting a ballot for Birney increased tenfold from 6, in 0. Following the annexation of Texas in , President Polk began preparations for a potential war with Mexico , which still regarded Texas as a part of its republic.
Hale had defied party leaders by denouncing the annexation of Texas, causing him to lose re-election in Hale joined with anti-slavery Whigs and the Liberty Party to found a new party in New Hampshire, and he won election to the Senate in early In February , Mexican and U. Clayton 's effort to reach a compromise over the status of slavery in the territories was defeated in the House, ensuring that slavery would be an important issue in the election.
Chase agreed to attend the convention, though another faction of the party, led by Gerrit Smith , refused to consider merging with another party. Though initially reluctant to accept to run for president, former President Van Buren accepted the group's presidential nomination.
Van Buren endorsed the position that slavery should be excluded from the territories acquired from Mexico, further declaring his belief that slavery was inconsistent with the "principles of the Revolution ".
Because Van Buren had favored the gag rule and had generally accommodated pro-slavery leaders during his presidency, many Liberty Party leaders and anti-slavery Whigs were unconvinced as to the sincerity of Van Buren's anti-slavery beliefs. James Reichley writes that, while resentment stemming from his defeat at the Democratic National Convention may have played a role in his candidacy, Van Buren ran on the grounds that "the long-term welfare of [the Democratic Party], and the nation, required that the [Democratic Party] shed its Calhounite influence, even at the cost of losing an election or two.
Anti-slavery leaders made up a majority of the attendees, but the convention also attracted some Democrats and Whigs who were indifferent on the issue of slavery but disliked the nominee of their respective party. With the backing of most Democratic delegates, about half of the Whig delegates, and a small number of Liberty Party leaders, Van Buren defeated John P.
Hale to win the fledgling party's presidential nomination. Some Free Soil leaders were initially optimistic that Van Buren could carry a handful of Northern states and force a contingent election in the House of Representatives, but Van Buren did not win a single electoral vote. The Free Soil Party continued to exist after , fielding candidates for various offices. At the state level, Free Soilers often entered into coalition with either of the major parties to elect anti-slavery officeholders.
Taylor died in July and was succeeded by Vice President Fillmore. Douglas led the passage of the Compromise of , which was based on Clay's earlier proposal.
Though the fugitive slave act and its enforcement outraged anti-slavery activists, most Northerners viewed it as a necessary trade-off for sectional peace with the South, and there was a backlash in the North against the anti-slavery agitation. Charles Sumner won election to the 32nd Congress , but Free Soilers lost a net of five seats in the and House of Representatives elections. Scott and his advisers had initially hoped to avoid openly endorsing the Compromise of in order to court Free Soil support, but, as a concession to Southern Whigs, Scott agreed to support the Whig platform.
SPIRIT, SOUL and BODY, YOUR GREATEST TROUBLE by Dr Myles Munroe
The party adopted a platform that called for the repeal of the Fugitive Slave Act and described slavery as "a sin against God and a crime against man. After pro-slavery Southern Senators blocked the passage of the proposal, Douglas and other Democratic leaders agreed to a bill that would repeal the Missouri Compromise and allow the inhabitants of the territories to determine the status of slavery.
Pierce's forceful response to protests stemming from the capture of escaped slave Anthony Burns further alienated many Northerners.
Many of the larger conventions agreed to nominate a fusion ticket of candidate opposed to the Kansas—Nebraska Act, and some adopted portions of the Free Soil platform from and One of these groups met in Ripon, Wisconsin , and agreed to establish a new party known as the Republican Party in the event that the Kansas—Nebraska Act passed.
Though many Democrats and Whigs involved in the anti-Nebraska movement still clung to their partisan affiliation, others began to label themselves as Republicans. Congressional Democrats suffered huge losses in the mid-term elections of , as voters provided support to a wide array of new parties opposed to the Democratic Party.
A committee chaired by David Wilmot produced a platform that denounced slavery, the Kansas—Nebraska Act, and the Pierce administration. Though Chase and Seward were the two most prominent members of the nascent party, the Republicans instead nominated John C.
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The Free Soil platform openly denounced the institution of slavery, demanding that the federal government "relieve itself of all responsibility for the existence and continuance of slavery" by abolishing slavery in all federal districts and territories.
The platform declared: "[W]e inscribe on our banner, 'Free Soil, Free Speech, Free Labor, and Free Men,' and under it we will fight on, and fight forever, until a triumphant victory shall reward our exertions".
Unlike the Liberty Party, the Free Soil Party platform did not address fugitive slaves or racial discrimination, nor did it call for the abolition of slavery in the states. The party nonetheless earned the support of many former Liberty Party leaders by calling for abolition wherever possible, the chief goal of the Liberty Party.
The Free Soil platform also called for lower tariffs , reduced postal rates, and improvements to harbors. About one-fifth of those who voted for Van Buren were former members of the Liberty Party, though a small number of Liberty Party members voted for Gerrit Smith instead. In New England, many trade unionists and land reformers supported the Free Soil Party, though others viewed slavery as a secondary issue or were hostile to the anti-slavery movement.
Hale of New Hampshire served as the two presidential nominees of the party, while Charles Francis Adams of Massachusetts and Congressman George Washington Julian served as the party's vice presidential nominees. Salmon P. Chase, Preston King, Gamaliel Bailey , and Benjamin Butler played crucial roles in leading the first party convention and drafting the first party platform.
Among those who attended the first Free Soil convention were poet and journalist Walt Whitman and abolitionist leader Frederick Douglass , the latter of whom was part of a small group of African Americans to attend the convention. Like their Free Soil predecessors, Republican leaders in the late s generally did not call for the abolition of slavery, but instead sought to prevent the extension of slavery into the territories. Former Free Soiler Salmon Chase was a major candidate for the presidential nomination at the Republican National Convention , but Abraham Lincoln defeated Chase, Seward, and other candidates to win the party's presidential nomination.
During the war, a faction of the Republican Party known as the Radical Republicans emerged; these Radical Republicans generally went farther than other Republicans in advocating for racial equality and the immediate abolition of slavery.
Radical Republicans exercised an important influence during the subsequent Reconstruction era , calling for ambitious reforms designed to promote the political and economic equality of African Americans in the South.
In , a disproportionate number of former Free Soilers helped found the short-lived Liberal Republican Party , a breakaway group of Republicans who launched an unsuccessful challenge to President Ulysses S.
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Grant 's re-election bid. Aside from defeating Grant, the party's central goals were the end of Reconstruction, the implementation of civil service reform , and the reduction of tariff rates. In , the party's name was used for the American Free Soil Party with a focus on justice for immigrants, as well as combating discrimination.
James W. Clifton filed to run for town council in Millersburg, Indiana. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
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Redirected from Free soil party. Free Soil Party. Politics of United States Political parties Elections. Further information: Presidency of John Tyler.
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Further information: Presidency of James K. Further information: Presidency of Millard Fillmore. See also: Third Party System. See also: Party divisions of United States Congresses. However, the party did not call for abolition of slavery in states where it already existed. Retrieved May 26, Oxford University Press.
Ohio History Connection. Retrieved August 3, United States Senate.
Free Soil Party
Retrieved November 5, Ludington Daily News. Ludington, MI. Retrieved September 13, American Third Party Report. United States House of Representatives. Brooks, Corey M. University of Chicago Press. Downey, Matthew T. The Journal of American History. Gara, Larry The Presidency of Franklin Pierce.
University Press of Kansas. Gienapp, William E. The Origins of the Republican Party, Holt, Michael F.