Skip to main content Skip to Search Box

Definition: Free Soil Party from Collins English Dictionary

n

1 a former US political party opposing slavery from 1848 until 1854 when it merged with the Republican party


Summary Article: Free-Soil party from The Columbia Encyclopedia

in U.S. history, political party that came into existence in 1847–48 chiefly because of rising opposition to the extension of slavery into any of the territories newly acquired from Mexico. The struggle in Congress over the Wilmot Proviso helped to consolidate the Free-Soil forces, which comprised those New York Democrats known as Barnburners, the antislavery Whigs, and members of the former Liberty party. These forces met in mass convention at Buffalo in Aug., 1848, where the party was formally organized and Martin Van Buren and Charles F. Adams (1807–86) were chosen as its candidates for president and vice president. The platform also declared for a homestead law, internal improvements, and a tariff for revenue only. The party polled nearly 300,000 votes and, by giving New York state to the Whigs, was a decisive factor in making Zachary Taylor president. The party elected one senator, Salmon P. Chase of Ohio, and 13 congressmen. The Compromise of 1850 supposedly settled the slavery issue, and the Barnburner element went back to its old allegiance. A few radical antislavery men kept the organization in existence and nominated John P. Hale for president in 1852; he received more than 150,000 votes. In 1854 the party was absorbed into the new Republican party.

  • See T. C. Smith, The Liberty and Free Soil Parties in the Northwest (1897, repr. 1969);.
  • Foner, E., Free Soil, Free Labor, Free Men (1970);.
  • Rayback, J. G., Free Soil: The Election of 1848 (1970);.
  • Blue, F. J., The Free Soilers (1973).
The Columbia Encyclopedia, © Columbia University Press 2017

Related Credo Articles

Full text Article Free-Soil Party
Chambers Dictionary of World History

A US political party whose slogan was ‘free soil, free speech, free labor, and free men’. Opposed to the expansion of slavery into territories...

Full text Article Free Soil Party
Encyclopedia of Emancipation and Abolition in the Transatlantic World

The Free Soil Party was formed in the United States in 1848 to oppose the expansion of slavery into the territories acquired from Mexico...

Full text Article Free Soil Party
Encyclopedia of U.S. Campaigns, Elections, and Electoral Behavior

THE FREE SOIL Party was a political party that opposed the expansion of slavery into the western territories. The party was originally a splinter...

See more from Credo