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 36o 30' .
Missouri wanted to become a slave state, but in doing so, it would make it so there were 12 slave states and 11 free states. The North didn't like that idea so they went to Congress. The South criticized it because it established the principle that Congress could make laws regarding slavery. The North criticized it because it helped expand slavery (although it was only south of the compromise line).
Anyone who helps a slave run away, they will have a $1,000 fined and go to jail for 6 months.
You ran away from me! You are going to get whipped now!
Please no! I don't want to get whipped!
Fugitive Slave Act. 1850
It allowed California to be a free state in exchange for a much stricter Fugitive Slave Act.
I'm allowing California to be a free state.
But I'm not sure that New Mexico and Utah can be either free or slave states.