Free Soil Party

Free Soil Party

Template:Infobox Historical American Political Party
party name= Free Soil Party
party articletitle= Free Soil Party
active= 1848 - 1854
ideology= anti-slavery expansion
position= N/A
international= None
preceded by= Liberty Party
Whig Party
Democratic Party
succeeded by= Republican Party
colors = N/A
The Free Soil Party was a short-lived political party in the United States active 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 slavery into 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 act and 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.

First convention

In 1848, the first party convention was held in Buffalo, New York, where the Free Soilers nominated former Democratic President Martin Van Buren for president with Charles Francis Adams for vice president at Lafayette Square then known as Court House Park. [cite web|url=|title=Old Court House|accessdate=2008-03-08|publisher=Chuck LaChiusa|work=History of Buffalo] The main party leaders were Salmon P. Chase of Ohio and John P. Hale of 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

The Compromise of 1850 undercut 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 Taylor of the Whigs and Lewis Cass of 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 1909.]

Presidential candidates

Other Famous Free Soilers

* Charles Francis Adams, Sr., Party's vice presidential candidate in 1848
* Salmon P. Chase, U.S. Senator from Ohio
* Charles Sumner, U.S. Senator from Massachusetts
* David C. Broderick, U.S. Senator from California
* Oren B. Cheney, legislator from Maine, founder of Bates College
* William Cullen Bryant
* Walt Whitman
* Joshua Reed Giddings, congressman from Ohio
* Henry Wilson
* George W. Julian
* Horace Mann

See also

* 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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  • Free-Soil Party —   [ friː sɔɪl pɑːtɪ], 1848 in den USA gegründete »dritte Partei«, die eine Ausdehnung der Sklaverei in die im Mexikanischen Krieg erworbenen Westgebiete zu verhindern suchte. Bei den Wahlen von 1848 mit M. Van Buren als Präsidentschaftskandidaten …   Universal-Lexikon

  • Free-Soil Party — Minor but influential 19th century U.S. political party that opposed the extension of slavery into the western territories. In 1846 proponents of the Wilmot Proviso and other antislavery factions formed a party; in 1848 it nominated former… …   Universalium

  • Free Soil Party — Plakat der Free Soil Party, mit Martin Van Buren und Charles Francis Adams von 1848 Die Free Soil Party (bekannt auch unter den Namen Freibodenmänner; Nationalreformer; Landreformer; Freesoilers) war eine politische Fraktion der Demokratischen… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Free Soil Party — Parti du sol libre Le Parti du sol libre (Free Soil Party) est un parti politique des États Unis qui connut une courte existence, actif lors des élections présidentielles de 1848 et 1852, et dans quelques élections d États. Alors troisième parti… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Free Soil Party — noun a former political party in the United States; formed in 1848 to oppose the extension of slavery into the territories; merged with the Liberty Party in 1848 • Hypernyms: ↑party, ↑political party * * * a former U.S. political party (1848 56)… …   Useful english dictionary

  • Free Soil Party — Free′ Soil′ Par ty n. amh. a former political party (1845–54) that opposed the extension of slavery into U.S. territories …   From formal English to slang

  • Free Soil party — a former U.S. political party (1848 56) that opposed the extension of slavery in the Territories not yet admitted to statehood. * * * …   Universalium

  • Free-Soil — ☆ Free Soil [frē′soil΄ ] adj. [also f s ] opposed to the extension of slavery; specif., designating or of a former (1848 54) political party (Free Soil Party) that opposed the spread of slavery into the Territories Free Soiler n …   English World dictionary

  • Free-Soil — Free′ Soil′ adj. (sometimes l.c.) 1) amh. opposing the extension of slavery into U.S. territories before the Civil War 2) amh. pertaining to or characteristic of the Free Soil Party • Etymology: 1840–50, amer. Free′ Soil′er, n …   From formal English to slang

  • Free Soil|er — «FREE SOY luhr», a member of the Free Soil Party …   Useful english dictionary

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