- Free Soil Party
Template:Infobox Historical American Political Party
party name= Free Soil Party
party articletitle= Free Soil Party
active= 1848 - 1854
preceded by= Liberty Party
succeeded by= Republican Party
colors = N/AThe Free Soil Party was a short-lived
political partyin the United Statesactive in the 1848 and 1852 presidential elections, and in some state elections. It was a third party that largely appealed to and drew its leadership from former anti-slavery members of the Whig Party and the Democratic Party; its membership was largely absorbed by the Republican Party in 1854. Its main purpose was opposing the expansion of slaveryinto the western territories, arguing that free men on free soil comprised a morally and economically superior system to slavery. The Free Soilers were against the expansion of slavery, but did not call for the abolition of slavery in states where it already existed; their goal was to gain the land to the west, and keep the land free of both blacks and slaves.
Free Soil candidates ran on the platform that declared: "...we inscribe on our banner, 'Free Soil, Free Speech, Free Labor and Free Men,' and under it we will fight on and fight ever, until a triumphant victory shall reward our exertions."
The party also called for a
homestead actand a tariff for revenue only. The Free Soil Party's main support came from areas of upstate New York, western Massachusetts, and Ohio, although other northern states also had representatives.
The Free Soil Party contended that slavery undermined the dignity of labor and inhibited social mobility, and was therefore fundamentally un-Democratic. Viewing slavery as an economically inefficient, obsolescent institution, Free Soilers argued that slavery should be contained, and that if contained it would ultimately disappear.
In 1848, the first party convention was held in
Buffalo, New York, where the Free Soilers nominated former Democratic President Martin Van Burenfor president with Charles Francis Adams for vice president at Lafayette Square then known as Court House Park. [cite web|url=http://lucky.phpwebhosting.com/~ah/h/lafsq/courthse/index.html|title=Old Court House|accessdate=2008-03-08|publisher=Chuck LaChiusa|work=History of Buffalo] The main party leaders were Salmon P. Chaseof Ohio and John P. Haleof New Hampshire. The Free Soil candidates won no electoral votes, in part because the nomination of Van Buren discouraged many anti-slavery Whigs from joining the Free Soil Party.
Compromise of 1850
Compromise of 1850undercut the party's no-compromise position, and its vote fell off sharply.
The Free Soil Parties was a notable third party. More successful than most, it sent two Senators and fourteen Representatives to the thirty-first Congress. Its presidential nominee in 1848,
Martin Van Buren, received 291,616 votes against Zachary Taylorof the Whigs and Lewis Cassof the Democrats; Van Buren received no electoral votes. The Party's "spoiler" effect in 1848 may have put Zachary Taylor into office in a narrowly-contested election.
The strength of the party, however, was its representation in Congress. The sixteen elected officials' influence far exceeded its numbers. The party's most important legacy was as a route for anti-slavery Democrats to join the new Republican coalition.
In Ottawa, Illinois, in August, 1854, an alliance was brokered between the Freesoil party and the Whigs (in part based on the efforts of local newspaper publisher Jonathan F. Linton) that gave rise to the Republican Party Taylor, William Alexander. CENTENNIAL HISTORY OF COLUMBUS http://www.heritagepursuit.com/Franklin/Franklin%20Vol%20II%20Bio%2006%20P100.htm 1909.]
Other Famous Free Soilers
Charles Francis Adams, Sr., Party's vice presidential candidate in 1848
Salmon P. Chase, U.S. Senatorfrom Ohio
Charles Sumner, U.S. Senatorfrom Massachusetts
David C. Broderick, U.S. Senatorfrom California
Oren B. Cheney, legislator from Maine, founder of Bates College
William Cullen Bryant
Joshua Reed Giddings, congressman from Ohio
George W. Julian
Second Party System
Origins of the American Civil War
Appeal of the Independent Democrats
* Frederick J. Blue; "Salmon P. Chase: A Life in Politics" 1987
* Frederick J. Blue. "The Free Soilers: Third Party Politics, 1848-54" (1973)
* Martin Duberman; "Charles Francis Adams, 1807-1886" 1968.
* T. C. Smith, "Liberty and Free Soil Parties in the Northwest" (New York, 1897)
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