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Free Soil Party

Free Soil ticket in 1848 showing Martin Van Buren for president and Charles Francis Adams for vice president

The Free Soil party's ticket in 1848 (see image attribution on the 1848 election page)

The Free Soil Party was a political party that emerged during the 1848 election season. Since both major candidates in the election did not refuse to expand slavery in the new territory from the Mexican-American War, the party was created by those that believed slavery should not expand. The party was short-lived, though, but was notable when it was around.


In 1848, former president Martin Van Buren sought the Democratic party's nomination. He lost, though, and since he was furious that he had created the Democratic party and had now been denied by them led him to create a new political party, the Free Soil Party. Van Buren ran for president with the party in the 1848 general election, and got over 10% of the popular vote, but no electoral votes. However, he was able to partially split the Democratic vote and was a major reason why Zachary Taylor won.


Just like the Whigs, the Free Soil party was more of a culmination of people rather than a party with set beliefs. In this case, it was a culmination of people that liked neither candidate in 1848. However, the party was anti-slavery.


After 1848, the party lost much of its momentum, especially with the collapse of the Whigs. The party criticized the Compromise of 1850, and ran Senator John P. Hale of New Hampshire for president, getting around 5% of the popular vote. When the Republican party was formed in 1854, most Free Soilers became Republicans, as both parties had the same anti-slavery beliefs and both criticized the Kansas-Nebraska Act. Since almost all of its members left to join the Republicans, the Free Soil party effectively died in 1854.

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