The Kansas-Nebraska Act

Apr 6, 2018 at History Essays

Since the beginning of the 20th century, the North American Union has increasingly become the center of the slave-owners, who ruled the South. Using the political power that was in their hands, large planters extended slavery to the new territories. However, the new Act caused big revolutions both in social and political life of Kansas and Nebraska.

The Kansas-Nebraska Act was adopted by Congress of the USA on May 30, 1854. It provided the population of newly formed territories of Kansas and Nebraska the possibility to solve the issue concerning legitimation or prohibition of slavery independently. In other words, the Act allowed people from Nebraska and Kansas to vote whether or not slavery was to be adopted within those territories. The Act repealed the Missouri Compromise adopted by Congress in 1820, according to which the slavery was forbidden in territories to the west of the river Mississippi and the land laying north of the 36°30' parallel, which were departed to the USA after purchase of Louisiana.1 

Adoption of the Act violated the balance between northern and southern states, which sought to establish control over new territories. As a result, this imbalance led to the Civil War. In 1861, Kansas entered the Union as a free state, without slavery. In 1867, Nebraska received the status of state after the War.2 Besides, the Act was important because it authorized all political forces united by fight against slavery, to create Republican Party, which nominated it as a candidate on the elections in 1856. This phenomenon helped young lawyer Abraham Lincoln to win against his rival Stephen Douglas, who wanted to build the transcontinental railroad through Chicago  on the political debate in 1858.1 

Taking into account all abovementioned information,  the Kansas-Nebraska Act became the most significant event, which led to the Civil War. The new Act provided each territory to solve the issue of slavery due to the popular sovereignty. In other words, this bill provided both Kansas and Nebraska political and social sovereignty and territorial independence.

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