The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 38, July 1934 - April, 1935

THE
SOUTHWESTERN HISTORICAL
QUARTERLY
VOL. XXXVIII APRIL, 1935 No. 4
The publication committee and the editors disclaim responsibility for views expressed
by contributors to THE QUARTERLY
SLAVERY PROPAGANDA DURING THE MEXICAN WAR
JOHN D. P. FULLER
It is a well known fact that the slavery question was intimately
connected with the issues presented by the Mexican War, partic-
ularly as regards the status of any territory which the United
States might acquire as a result of that conflict. It is not here
proposed to enter into a discussion of the whole controversy. The
subject is much too broad and has already been extensively treated.
There is one phase of the story, however, which has received little
attention in accounts of the period; that is, the effort made by
northern expansionists to overcome the effects of the so-called
Wilmot Proviso. When Representative David Wilmot of Penn-
sylvania, in August, 1846, proposed to exclude slavery from any
territory which might be acquired from Mexico, there was re-
opened a controversy which was not finally adjourned until after
the Civil War, some two decades later. Of more immediate con-
cern to the expansionists of 1846 was the fact that the slavery issue
tended to array North against South, to disrupt the party com-
mitted to expansion in the face of a unified opposition, and thus
to wreck the plans of the advocates of empire. Confronted with
this alarming situation the expansionists of the North determined
to aid the South in her efforts to get rid of the Wilmot Proviso.
Accordingly there began a campaign of propaganda in the free
states which was designed to convince the public that the interests
of slavery and southwestward expansion were not identical. Hence
the Wilmot Proviso would not serve any useful purpose and might

Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 38, July 1934 - April, 1935. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth117143/. Accessed October 2, 2014.