Spot Resolutions

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The spot resolutions were offered in the United States House of Representatives on 22 December 1847 by Abraham Lincoln, Whig representative from Illinois. The resolutions requested President James K. Polk to provide Congress with the exact location (the "spot") upon which blood was spilt on American soil, as Polk had claimed in 1846 when asking Congress to declare war on Mexico. So persistent was Lincoln in pushing his "spot resolutions" that some began referring to him as "spotty Lincoln." Lincoln's resolutions were a direct challenge to the validity of the president's words, and representative of an ongoing political power struggle between Whigs and Democrats.

According to Lincoln biographer David Herbert Donald, "nobody paid much attention to his resolutions, which the House neither debated nor adopted". Many Democrats regarded the resolutions as unpatriotic; some Whigs cautioned that criticism of the war would hurt the Whigs politically. Lincoln, however, was not speaking out against the war itself, but rather against Polk's conduct of it. In fact, the Whigs would later nominate Zachary Taylor (a hero of the war) as their candidate, whom Lincoln supported.

In Polk's report, he said that the American soldiers fell on American soil. But, in point of fact, they had actually fallen on disputed territory, between the Nueces and Rio Grande rivers.

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