Calhoun and Ralph Waldo Emerson wars have a way of corrupting ideals and breeding new wars, often in unforeseen ways. .
The Wilmot proviso was never a law, but it politicized slavery once and for all. David Wilmot, a Democrat from Pennsylvania, favored expansion, and he said that the new territories acquired should be free. Calhoun devised a thesis to counter the proviso. The Calhoun resolutions, which never came to a vote, argued that since the territories were the common possessions of the states, Congress had no right to prevent any citizen from taking slaves into them. Calhoun took that basic guarantee of liberty, the Bill of Rights, specifically the Fifth Amendment, and turned it into a basic guarantee of slavery. President Polk didn't run again in 1848, and General Zachary Taylor ran for presidency, once again the party adopted no platform at all. .
The antislavery impulse was not easily squelched. Free soil, rather than abolition became the rallying pint, and also the name of a new party. Three major groups entered the free soil coalition: rebellious Democrats, antislavery Whigs, and members of the Liberty party, which dated from 1840. The democrats were divided into the "Barnburners" (following Martin Van Buren) and the pro-administration "Hunkers. The Whigs had the "Conscience" Whigs who battled the "Cotton" Whigs. Conscience Whigs rejected the slaveholder Taylor. The abolitionist Liberty party, nominated Senator John P. Hale for president. In August, these groups - Barnburners, Conscience Whigs and Liberty party followers - organized the Free Soil party in a convention at Buffalo. They appointed Martin Van Buren as presidential nominee, and Charles Francis Adams, a conscience Whig as vice-presidential nominee. The party's main principle was the Wilmot Proviso, and the slogan was "free soil, free speech, free labor, and free men." Taylor won with 163 to 127 electoral votes. .
The California Gold Rush constituted the greatest mass migration in American history to that point.