Did the Kansas-Nebraska Act have an impact on pulling the nation apart?

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The Kansas-Nebraska Act definitely had an impact in pulling that nation apart in the 1850s. This law created two territories, Kansas and Nebraska. The law also called for popular sovereignty to determine if slavery would exist in these territories. This meant that the people would vote to determine if slavery...

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The Kansas-Nebraska Act definitely had an impact in pulling that nation apart in the 1850s. This law created two territories, Kansas and Nebraska. The law also called for popular sovereignty to determine if slavery would exist in these territories. This meant that the people would vote to determine if slavery would or would not exist in the Kansas Territory and the Nebraska Territory. This was a significant change in policy because now slavery could possibly exist North of the 36°30’ line. This had been outlawed with the passage of the Missouri Compromise in 1821. The southerners saw this as an opportunity to expand slavery to places where it wasn’t previously allowed.

The main area of contention was in the Kansas Territory. Fighting broke out in the Kansas Territory over the possible spread of slavery. Border ruffians from Missouri crossed the border to vote for slavery in Kansas. When the votes were counted, slavery would be allowed in the Kansas Territory. Laws were passed that allowed slavery to exist. However, those who were against slavery refused to follow these laws, and they created their own constitution. Pro-slavery people burned property. Anti-slavery people, led by John Brown, killed some pro-slavery people. Because of this killing, Kansas was nicknamed “Bleeding Kansas.” Southerners and northerners were clearly at odds over slavery.

The passage of the Kansas-Nebraska Act, along with other events in the 1850s, helped to divide the country and helped to set the stage for the Civil War in 1861.

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