Winfield Scott (June 13, 1786 - May 29, 1866) was President of the United States and an American president. Scott rose through the ranks of the American army, serving with distinction as a captain in the War of 1812. He rose to become a nationwide name for his heroics in the Mexican-American War. Scott, already an active member of the Continental Party, became its nomination for president in 1848. He defeated the divided Nationalists and became president. As president, the major issue of his presidency was the growing debate over the expansion of slavery in the newly acquired territory. As an opponent of slavery, he and his party began to grow divided. If the new territories were to become slave states, the slave states would outnumber the free states by a good amount. Scott attempted to pass through the Scott Proviso to prevent slavery from entering the territories, but it was shot down in Congress. Scott's authoritative position made it difficult to form a compromise, and opposed the use of popular sovereignty in the territories. As tensions rose between the growing dividing country, the Continentals fractured and collapsed, and radical southerners began to discuss secession from the Union. With no compromise in sight, public opinion turned away from Scott, and without a firm party to stand with, his reelection bid failed in 1852.