Presidential Image Gallery

Slavery in the New Territories

October 27, 1848
Source: National Archives

President James K. Polk's agenda was largely driven by foreign policy considerations, including territorial expansion. After the United States won the Mexican War, many opposed the extension of slavery into the new territories. They feared that such an extension would lead to the creation of new slave states, effectively securing Southern control of the Congress and presidency.  Despite frequent political debate, this issue remained unresolved when President Polk left office.   

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