What caused the Kansas-Nebraska Act to be proposed?
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The Kansas-Nebraska Act was caused by the need for a transcontinental railroad and the desire of Northerners to have that railroad run through the North.
After the US acquired the West Coast, it became clear that a railroad was needed to cross the country and provide decent transportation to and from that area. Northerners and Southerners both wanted the railroad to go through their territory. One of the problems for the North was that a Northern railroad would have to go through Kansas or Nebraska and neither of these areas had yet been organized as an official territory with a government and such. In order to defeat that criticism of the Northern line, Stephen Douglas proposed the Kansas-Nebraska Act.
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