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Kansas-Nebraska Act
Updated: 5/20/2020
Kansas-Nebraska Act
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Storyboard Text

  • 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 allowed the settlers to decide if slavery would be legal.
  • Antislavery supporters were outraged because, under the terms of the Missouri Compromise of 1820, slavery would have been outlawed in both territories.After months of debate, the Kansas-Nebraska Act passed on May 30, 1854.
  • Pro-slavery and anti-slavery settlers rushed to Kansas, each side hoping to determine the results of the first election held after the law went into effect.
  • The conflict turned violent, aggravating the split between North and South until reconciliation was virtually impossible.
  • Opponents of the Kansas-Nebraska Act helped found the Republican Party, which opposed the spread of slavery into the territories.
  • As a result of the Kansas-Nebraska Act, the United States moved closer to the Civil War.
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