Kansas-Nebraska Act (Great Events from History: North American Series)
Article abstract: The Compromise of 1850 proves temporary when the problem of slavery in the territories reemerges.
Summary of Event
The issue of the expansion of slavery was laid aside only temporarily with the passage of the Compromise of 1850, although the compromise had seemed to be fairly successful in the two or three years immediately following its enactment. Several events kept the compromise in the public eye, including the seizure in the North of African Americans under the provisions of the Second Fugitive Slave Law (1850), the publication of Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin in 1852, and the last of three filibustering expeditions launched from New Orleans in August, 1851, by Venezuelan Narcisco Lopez against Spanish Cuba. Many people in the United States hoped that the slavery issue would disappear, and the economic pressures of life absorbed the attention of most average citizens. Moreover, no prominent politicians had captured the public’s imagination. Lackluster, noncontroversial candidates were nominated in the presidential campaign of 1852—Franklin Pierce of New Hampshire for the Democrats and General Winfield Scott for the Whigs. The election, won by Pierce, was no more exciting than the candidates. Evidence of the desire of U.S. voters to maintain the status quo was demonstrated further in the poor showing of John P. Hale of New Hampshire, the standard-bearer of the Free-Soil...
(The entire section is 1808 words.)
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Kansas-Nebraska Act (West's Encyclopedia of American Law)
The Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854 (10 Stat. 277) was a significant piece of legislation because it dealt with several controversial issues, including SLAVERY, western expansion, and the construction of a transcontinental railroad.
Slavery was a widely debated divisive issue for many years preceding the Civil War and there were several attempts at conciliation. The first of these was the MISSOURI COMPROMISE OF 1820 (3 Stat. 545), which decided the slavery question in regard to the creation of two new states, Missouri and Maine. The compromise declared that Maine was to be admitted as a free state, while Missouri was allowed to enter the Union with no restrictions regarding slavery. Subsequently, however, Missouri entered as a slave state. The compromise also prohibited the extension of slavery north of the 36°30latitude which established the southern border of Missouri.
The COMPROMISE OF 1850 (9 Stat. 452) settled another controversy concerning slavery and instituted the doctrine of popular sovereignty, which permitted the residents of the area to decide the question. When Texas and other new territories were acquired as a result of the Mexican War in 1848, and California sought admission to the Union in 1849, the question again arose concerning the...
(The entire section is 636 words.)