In 1854, Senator Stephen Douglas of Illinois proposed a bill to organize the Territory of Nebraska, a huge area of land also that would certainly end up being Kansas, Nebraska, Montana and also the Dakotas. Known as the Kansas-Nebraska Act, the controversial bill raised the opportunity that slaincredibly can be extfinished into regions wright here it had actually as soon as been banned. Its passage intensified the bitter conflict over slaextremely in the United States, which would certainly later explode into the Civil War.

Stephen Douglas and also Westward Expansion

The exploration of gold in California in 1849, and also California’s succeeding request to end up being a state, sparked a fierce fight in Congress. As The golden state had actually banned slavery, its admission to the Union would certainly upcollection the fragile balance in between servant and also complimentary states. By the finish of 1850, Senator Henry Clay (through Douglas’ help) had convinced Congress to accept the Compromise of 1850. By its terms, California gone into the Union as a free state, while the regions of Utah, New Mexico, Nevada and Arizona (all acquired in the Mexican-Amerideserve to War) were left to decide for themselves whether to permit slaexceptionally within their boundaries. 

Did you know? Kansas was admitted as a free state in January 1861 just weeks after eight Southern states sedelivered from the union.

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Douglas hoped this concept of “well-known sovereignty” would solve the mounting dispute over the future of slaextremely in the USA and permit the nation to expand also westward through few obstacles. But the Compromise of 1850 (especially the strict brand-new Fugitive Slave Act it contained) galvanized the abolitionist movement and sustained mounting controversy over whether the college of slavery have to be enabled to expand along with the nation.

Summary of the Kansas-Nebraska Act in 1854

Known as the “Little Giant,” Douglas was among the country’s the majority of significant political leaders by 1854, and also was seen as a likely future president. He was likewise a huge booster of the planned transcontinental railroad, which would carry out much faster, more trustworthy transportation across the country. Douglas wanted the railroad to be built along a north route that would certainly go via Chicback and also a vast area of land known as the Nebraska Territory, which had been consisted of in the Louisiana Acquisition.

Southern slaveholders and also their allies in Congress opposed Douglas’ initial bill to organize the Nebraska Territory. In 1821, the Missouri Compromise had actually outlawed slaincredibly almost everywhere in the remaining Louisiana Purchase lands north of the 36º 30’ parallel, and also the 2 proposed territories lay north of this line.

Douglas required proslaextremely votes to pass his “Nebraska Bill,” as it was well-known at the time.

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To obtain them, he included an amendment that repealed the Missouri Compromise and developed two new regions, Kansas and Nebraska. Settlers in each region would vote on the issue of whether to permit slaexceptionally or not, according to the principle of renowned sovereignty.