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In Their Own Words

January 08, 1850

Washington County Opposed Wilmot Proviso

The future of slavery in the western territories of the U.S. was an issue that bitterly divided the North and South. As war with Mexico appeared imminent, Congressman David Wilmot, a Pennsylvania Democrat, successfully got a proviso attached to an appropriation bill providing that slavery would not be allowed in any land acquired from Mexico. The “Wilmot Proviso” passed the House but not the Senate. By 1850, southern Democrats were united in their opposition to reintroduction of the proviso in Congress. In fact, a group of citizens in Washington County, Ga., met on Jan. 8, 1850 and adopted the following resolution:

“That we regard the Wilmont [sic] Proviso as wholly unconstitutional in principle, aggressive in its aim and directly insulting to the South; and rather than submit to its application to any territory now acquired or hereafter to be acquired south of the Missouri Compromise [line], we are for immediate dissolution of the Union.”

Source: Milledgeville Southern Recorder, Jan. 15, 1850, as cited in Spencer B. King, Jr., Georgia Voices: A Documentary History to 1872 (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1974 reprint of 1966 original volume), p. 260.