The Free Soil Party
was a short-lived political party in the
It was a breakaway faction of the Democratic Party and was largely absorbed by the Republican Party in 1854. Its main purpose was opposing the expansion of slavery into the territories, arguing that free men on free soil comprised a morally and economically superior system to slavery. The ‘free soilers’ were against the expansion of slavery but not the idea of slavery; their goal was to gain the land to the west, and keep the land free of slaves. Slavery was seen as a "social bad because it hurt free men," but, unlike the abolitionists, they did not denounce it as sinful.
Free Soil candidates ran on the platform that declared: "...we inscribe on our banner, 'Free Soil, Free Speech, Free Labor and Free Man,' and under it we will fight on and fight ever, until a triumphant victory shall reward our exertions."
The party also called for a homestead act and a tariff for revenue only (as opposed to a protective high tariff). The Free Soil Party attracted mainly Yankees from the Northeast and upper Midwest, especially Yankee areas of upstate
In 1848, the first party convention was held in
The Free Soil Party was a notable third party. More successful than most, it sent two senators and fourteen representatives to the thirty-first Congress, elected in 1848. Its presidential nominee in 1848, Van Buren, received 291,616 votes against Zachary Taylor of the Whigs and Lewis Cass of the Democrats; Van Buren received no electoral votes. The Party's "spoiler" effect in 1848 may have put