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Kansas Nebraska Act Text

[Summary]Welcome to OurDocuments.gov One moment please... Our Documents In January 1854, Senator Stephen Douglas introduced a bill that divided the land west of Missouri into two territories, Kansas and Nebraska. He argued for popular sovereignty, which would

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In January 1854, Senator Stephen Douglas introduced a bill that divided the land west of Missouri into two territories, Kansas and Nebraska. He argued for popular sovereignty, which would allow the settlers of the new territories to decide if slavery would be legal there. Antislavery supporters were outraged because, under the terms of the Missouri Compromise of 1820, slavery would have been outlawed in both territories.

Kansas-Nebraska Act: Primary Documents of American History (Virtual Programs & Services, Library of Congress)

Kansas-Nebraska Act

Kansas Nebraska Act Text

William Reynolds.
Reynolds's political map of the United States, designed to exhibit the comparative area of the free and slave states and the territory open to slavery or freedom by the repeal of the Missouri Compromise.
New York: Wm. C. Reynolds, 1856.
Geography and Map Division.

Speech on the Kansas-Nebraska Act, March 21, 1854: Abraham Lincoln, US President | AMDOCS: Documents for the Study of American History

Abraham Lincoln
Speech on the Kansas-Nebraska Act

October 16, 1854

... It is argued that slavery will not go to Kansas and Nebraska, in any event. This is a palliation--a lullaby. I have some hope that it will not; but let us not be too confident. As to climate, a glance at the map shows that there are five slave States--Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, Kentucky, and Missouri--and also the District of Columbia, all north of the Missouri compromise line. The census returns of 1850 show that,within these, there are 867,276 slaves--being more than one-fourth of all the slaves in the nation.

The Kansas-Nebraska Act [ushistory.org]

31a. The Kansas-Nebraska Act

The Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854 may have been the single most significant event leading to the Civil War. By the early 1850s settlers and entrepreneurs wanted to move into the area now known as Nebraska. However, until the area was organized as a territory, settlers would not move there because they could not legally hold a claim on the land. The southern states' representatives in Congress were in no hurry to permit a Nebraska territory because the land lay north of the 36°30' parallel — where slavery had been outlawed by the Missouri Compromise of 1820. Just when things between the north and south were in an uneasy balance, Kansas and Nebraska opened fresh wounds.

The History Place

The Kansas-Nebraska Act

The Kansas-Nebraska Act was passed by the U.S. Congress on May 30, 1854. It allowed people in the territories of Kansas and Nebraska to decide for themselves whether or not to allow slavery within their borders. The Act served to repeal the Missouri Compromise of 1820 which prohibited slavery north of latitude 36°30´.

The Kansas-Nebraska Act, 1854 | National Archives

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Kansas-Nebraska Act: Primary Documents of American History (Virtual Programs & Services, Library of Congress)

Kansas-Nebraska Act

Kansas Nebraska Act Text

William Reynolds.
Reynolds's political map of the United States, designed to exhibit the comparative area of the free and slave states and the territory open to slavery or freedom by the repeal of the Missouri Compromise.
New York: Wm. C. Reynolds, 1856.
Geography and Map Division.

List of books and articles about Kansas-Nebraska Act | Online Research Library: Questia

Kansas-Nebraska Act, bill that became law on May 30, 1854, by which the U.S. Congress established the territories of Kansas and Nebraska. By 1854 the organization of the vast Platte and Kansas river countries W of Iowa and Missouri was overdue. As an isolated issue territorial organization of this area was no problem. It was, however, irrevocably bound to the bitter sectional controversy over the extension of slavery into the territories and was further complicated by conflict over the location of the projected transcontinental railroad. Under no circumstances did proslavery Congressmen want a free territory (Kansas) W of Missouri. Because the West was expanding rapidly, territorial organization, despite these difficulties, could no longer be postponed. Four attempts to organize a single territory for this area had already been defeated in Congress, largely because of Southern opposition to the Missouri Compromise. Although the last of these attempts to organize the area had nearly been successful, Stephen A. Douglas, chairman of the Senate Committee on Territories, decided to offer territorial legislation making concessions to the South. Douglas's motives have remained largely a matter of speculation. Various historians have emphasized Douglas's desire for the Presidency, his wish to cement the bonds of the Democratic party, his interest in expansion and railroad building, or his desire to activate the unimpressive Pierce administration. The bill he reported in Jan., 1854, contained the provision that the question of slavery should be left to the decision of the territorial settlers themselves. This was the famous principle that Douglas now called popular sovereignty, though actually it had been enunciated four years earlier in the Compromise of 1850. In its final form Douglas's bill provided for the creation of two new territories—Kansas and Nebraska—instead of one. The obvious inference—at least to Missourians—was that the first would be slave, the second free. The Kansas-Nebraska Act flatly contradicted the provisions of the Missouri Compromise (under which slavery would have been barred from both territories); indeed, an amendment was added specifically repealing that compromise. This aspect of the bill in particular enraged the antislavery forces, but after three months of bitter debate in Congress, Douglas, backed by President Pierce and the Southerners, saw it adopted. Its effects were anything but reassuring to those who had hoped for a peaceful solution. The popular sovereignty provision caused both proslavery and antislavery forces to marshal strength and exert full pressure to determine the "popular" decision in Kansas in their own favor, using groups such as the Emigrant Aid Company. The result was the tragedy of "bleeding" Kansas. Northerners and Southerners were aroused to such passions that sectional division reached a point that precluded reconciliation. A new political organization, the Republican party, was founded by opponents of the bill, and the United States was propelled toward the Civil War.

Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln. Volume 2.

THE 14TH SECTION.

The following is the 14th section of the Kansas-Nebraska law. It repeals the Missouri Compromise; and then puts in a declaration that it is not intended by this repeal to legislate slavery in or exclude it therefrom, the territory.

SEC. 14. That the constitution, and all the laws of the United States which are not locally inapplicable, shall have the same force and effect within said territory of Nebraska as elsewhere in the United States, except the 8th section of the act preparatory to the admission of Missouri into the Union, approved March sixth, eighteen hundred and twenty, which being inconsistent with the principles of non-intervention by congress with slavery in the States and Territories as recognized by the legislation of eighteen hundred and fifty, commonly called the compromise measures, is hereby declared inoperative and void; it being the true intent and meaning of this act not to legislate slavery into any territory or State, nor to exclude it therefrom, but to leave the people thereof perfectly free to form and regulate their domestic institutions in their own way, subject only to the constitution of the United States: Provided, that nothing herein contained shall be construed to revive or put in force any law or regulation which may have existed prior to the act of sixth of March, eighteen hundred and twenty, either protecting, establishing, prohibiting, or abolishing slavery.

The Kansas-Nebraska Act

Kansas–Nebraska Act

The allure of rich farmlands and the potential for infrastructure development in the Kansas-Nebraska territories put the Compromise of 1850 to the test. The Missouri Compromise of 1820 had prohibited slavery in all new territories north of the 36° 30' latitude line, effectively banning slavery in the Kansas territory. The Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854, however, drafted by Democrat Stephen A. Douglas (IL), repealed the Missouri Compromise of 1820 and mandated that popular sovereignty would determine any new territory's slave or free status.

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