David Wilmot, 1814–68, American legislator, b. Bethany, Pa. As a Democratic Congressman (1845–51) he became widely known as the author of the famous Wilmot Proviso, which helped build up sectional animosity before the Civil War. Ardently opposed to slavery, Wilmot became a leader of the Free-Soil party. He helped to found the Republican party and was (1861–63) a Republican Senator, filling out the unexpired term of Simon Cameron. He then became (1863) judge of the U.S. Court of Claims.
See biography by C. B. Going (1924, repr. 1966).