On August 9, 1848, the Free Soil Party, an anti-slavery political party, held a national convention in Buffalo. It was attended by no less than twenty thousand men. These men attended the convention because of their lack of homogeneity with the already-established political parties as well as their belief that the federal government should prohibit the continuance of slavery in the United States.

The Free Soil Party believed that the only safe means of preventing the extension of slavery into free territories was to prohibit its existence by an act of Congress. The majority of the conferees supported Martin Van Burn for the1848 presidency and, when he accepted their nomination, free soil became the major issue of the campaign.