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Wilmot Proviso

U.S. House of Representativescirca 1846

U.S. National Archives

U.S. National Archives

Representative David Wilmot introduced this amendment in 1846 during a debate over a bill to fund the Mexican War. It prohibited slavery in any territory acquired from Mexico. Wilmot hoped to use Congress's constitutional power of the purse to prevent the diffusion of slavery during the nation's westward expansion. This amendment passed in the House but failed in the Senate. The Wilmot Proviso was reintroduced several more times in subsequent years, but was never enacted.

Center for Legislative Archives (LL)
National Archives Building
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