How did the outbreak of conflict in Kansas influence the rise of the Republican Party?

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The political fallout from the passage of the Kansas-Nebraska Act in 1854, which created the territories of Kansas and Nebraska, led to the creation of the Republican Party. After the act's passage, pro-slavery and anti-slavery factions rushed into Kansas. Since the legality of slavery in the state was to be decided by popular sovereignty, violent clashes between these two groups broke out, earning the territory the nickname "Bleeding Kansas."

The failure to prevent the passage of the Kansas-Nebraska Act by the southern Whigs essentially led to the destruction of the political party. The northern Whigs hoped that other anti-slavery politicians would join them. However, the failure to maintain the Missouri Compromise and prevent the events occurring in Kansas lost the party much of its influence and credibility. Instead, anti-slavery Democrats, Free Soilers, and former Whigs formed their own party, the Republicans, in March 1854. As a unified party with a common set of goals, the new Republicans felt they would better be able to fight for their causes in government and act as a counterbalance to the Democrats.

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The outbreak of conflict in Kansas helped the Republican Party to rise because it helped cause the other parties to split apart.  When the Kansas-Nebraska Act gave rise to the conflict in Kansas, the Whig Party completely split apart.  The Democrats did not formally split at that point, but many Democrats in the North did start to move away from the party over the issue of slavery.  When this happened, there was room for a new party.  The party that was ultimately the most successful at filling the void was the Republican Party.  They took many of the old Northern Whigs, the Free Soilers, some Democrats and some former Know-Nothings and coalesced them into a new party.

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