Kansas Nebraska Act A Push Essay Examples

The Kansas Nebraska Act Essay

In 1854, Senator Stephen Douglas from Illinois proposed a bill to organize the vast Nebraska territory west of Iowa and Missouri. Hoping to rally the Democratic party and unite the nation by reviving the idea of Manifest Destiny, Douglas proposed what would become known as the Kansas-Nebraska Act. Douglas unknowingly renewed a decades old debate over slavery and caused the nation to fall more deeply into a sectional divide that would split the Union in the years to come.

The origins of the Kansas-Nebraska Act lie in the uncontroversial issue of the advancement of Midwestern settlement. Farm families in Iowa and Missouri had longed to expand into the great frontier to the west, but this region had yet to be organized into a territory. Plus, many advocates of national expansion wanted to build a railroad from the East coast to the West coast and wished to have it pass through the Midwest so that these states could realize the economic benefits that a railroad would bring. A railroad linking the Midwest to the coasts would also enhance the importance of the Midwest and boost the region's political influence in national politics. Stephen Douglas, a senator from Illinois, embraced the ideas of a railroad to the Pacific and the organization of the Nebraska territory as ways to unite the rival factions of the Democratic party behind the doctrine of Manifest Destiny. He wished to heal the wounds of sectionalism between the North and the South with the Kansas-Nebraska Act by focusing the country's attention on the railroad and movement westward.

Political pressures greatly shaped the Kansas-Nebraska Act and caused Douglas to make great modifications to his bill. While Southern congressmen wanted a railroad to link the East and West coasts, they opposed the idea of building it in the North. Instead, they advocated that the railroad pass through a southern city such as Memphis. Additionally, since Nebraska is within the area of the Louisiana Purchase and above the 36-30 line, the territory would be closed to slavery. Southerners feared that many free states would be carved from this immense territory and that they would lose power in...

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The Kansas-Nebraska Act was a controversial bill that led to further divisions between North and South.  The bill allowed for settlers within a territory to make decisions about whether they wanted to allow slavery or not.  This change was buried within a bill that was about new territories, the future Transcontinental Railroad, and farmland.  

The bill was introduced in Congress by Stephen A. Douglas.  The primary purpose of the bill was to officially establish...

The Kansas-Nebraska Act was a controversial bill that led to further divisions between North and South.  The bill allowed for settlers within a territory to make decisions about whether they wanted to allow slavery or not.  This change was buried within a bill that was about new territories, the future Transcontinental Railroad, and farmland.  

The bill was introduced in Congress by Stephen A. Douglas.  The primary purpose of the bill was to officially establish a new territory in the midwest.  Due to the location of this territory, it should have been a free territory according to the terms of the Missouri Compromise.  Wanting to gain the support of Southerners in Congress, Douglas proposed that the territory be split into two, Kansas and Nebraska.  This also led him to suggest that the settlers in the more southern of the two territories decide if they wanted to allow slavery or not.  This idea was called "popular sovereignty."  Kansas was established as a slave territory.  Northern opposition led to tensions.  Abolitionists had opposed the bill.  Slave owning settlers moved to Kansas.  Abolitionists also moved to Kansas in opposition.  An official legislature was established, and in opposition an unofficial one was also established in a different town.  Abolitionist John Brown murdered farmers who were proslavery, and eventually fighting broke out between abolitionists and those who believed in slavery.  It was a war on a small scale.  This time was later referred to as "Bleeding Kansas."  Tensions due to these events contributed to the rift between Southern and Northern states, which eventually led to the Civil War.

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