SAT Subject US History Practice Question 971: Answer and Explanation

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Question: 971

52. Representative David Wilmot of Pennsylvania wrote an amendment to an appropriations bill for the Mexican War in 1846, which stated that "there shall be no slavery or involuntary servitude in any territory acquired from Mexico." These words represented a key element of the

A. gradual abolitionist position of James Tallmadge.
B. Free Soil idea of the moderate antislavery politicians.
C. immediate abolitionism of William Lloyd Garrison.
D. nativist platform of the Know Nothing Party.
E. popular sovereignty position.

Correct Answer: B


The Free Soilers wanted to exclude slavery from the western territories, including the Mexican Cession, which the United States acquired in 1848 after the war with Mexico. They formed the Free Soil party in 1848 and many of them became Republicans after 1854. Gradual abolition (A) was an idea that became law in many Northern states in the latter part of the 18th century. It stated that all persons born to slaves after a certain date would be free at age 21 or 25. The immediate abolitionists (C), like William Lloyd Garrison and Wendell Phillips, called for an immediate end to slavery in all of the United States. The supporters of popular sovereignty (E) left the question of slavery open to the settlers.

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