Tuesday, February 10, 2009

The Wilmot District

David Wilmot was elected to Congress in 1844 as the representative of Pennsylvania's 12th Congressional District. The 12th District was then composed of Tioga, Bradford and Susquehanna Counties (shown in white in the map above) in the state's northeast.

Jonathan H. Earle explains that the area encompassed by the 12th District was the Pennsylvania version of New York's Passed-Over District. The area was "[r]ugged, densely wooded, and remote," and the "land was rocky and poor." It had "very little industry and even fewer banks." In short, the district that Wilmot represented had been "'passed over' by the revolutions in transportation, markets, and information exchange that transformed" other areas of the north in the period.

"Predictably, the district was a bastion of Democratic electoral strength," with many expressing views on "canal 'monopolies.'" high taxes, "absentee 'land sharks'" and protective tariffs that "closely resembled" those of "the hard-money antibank radicals of New York's remote North Country, home of Democratic politicians Silas Wright and Preston King."

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