1854 Kansas-Nebraska Act Map
The Kansas-Nebraska Act map shows the existing Free States and the existing Slave States.
The Missouri Compromise of 1820 declared that Missouri be admitted as a slave state and and Maine be admitted as a slave state, maintaining a balance between 'free soil' and 'slave soil'. The Missouri Compromise of 1820 also prohibited the extension of slavery north of the 36°30′ latitude, as indicated on the map
The Compromise of 1850 provided that California be admitted as a free state and The territories of Utah and New Mexico had been opened to the people to decide by Popular Sovereignty whether their states favored or opposed slavery as indicated on the map, contravening the Missouri Compromise
In 1854 the Kansas and Nebraska territories were the next areas subjected to a dispute over the issue of slavery
Kansas-Nebraska Act Map
Kansas-Nebraska Act History for kids
The precedent of Popular Sovereignty in the Compromise of 1850 had led to a demand for a similar provision for the Kansas Territory and Nebraska territory. The Compromise of 1850 provided that California be admitted as a free state and that the people of the new territories of Utah and New Mexico could decide whether their states favored or opposed slavery, pursuant to the doctrine of Popular Sovereignty. The terms of the Compromise of 1850 contravened the Missouri Compromise, the purpose of which was to maintain a balance between the number of free and slave states admitted to the union. And the terms of the Kansas-Nebraska Act followed suit.
Who wrote the Kansas-Nebraska Act? The Aims of Stephen A. Douglas
Henry Clay had written the Compromise of 1850, based upon the ideas of Senator Stephen A. Douglas of of Illinois who was a strong advocate of the doctrine of Popular Sovereignty. The Kansas-Nebraska Act was written by Stephen A. Douglas to provide for the formation of two new territories. One of these he named Kansas and the other territory was named Nebraska. Stephen A. Douglas was also a firm believer in the Manifest Destiny of the United States and its expansion of lands across the whole of the North American continent. Stephen A. Douglas also believed that the lands of Kansas and Nebraska were vital to the construction of a Transcontinental Railroad to the Pacific coast allowing settlers to move westward and also to provide a fast trade route - refer to Railroads in the 1800s for facts about the history of the railroad and the invention of the steam locomotive. Stephen A. Douglas was also excited by the recent Invention of the first telegraph by Samuel Morse which would revolutionize communications across the United States.
Reason for the Kansas-Nebraska Act
What was the reason for Kansas-Nebraska Act? The existing area was organized as a territory and settlers would not move move westward into Nebraska and Kansas because they could not legally hold a claim on the land. The Kansas-Nebraska Act would allow them to claim ownership.
Purpose of the Kansas-Nebraska Act: Another Compromise
What was the purpose of the Kansas-Nebraska Act? The purpose of the Kansas-Nebraska Act was to provide another compromise to encourage the representatives of the southern states in Congress to look favorably on the act. The south were in no hurry to permit a Nebraska territory because the land lay north of the 36°30' parallel, where slavery had been outlawed by the Missouri Compromise. To gain southern support for the Kansas-Nebraska Act, Stephen A. Douglas therefore proposed Kansas as a southern state, inclined to support slavery, to be included in the Kansas-Nebraska Act based on the doctrine of Popular Sovereignty.
Provisions of the Kansas-Nebraska Act
What did the Kansas-Nebraska Act do? The provisions of the Kansas-Nebraska Act were:
The new territories were established as Kansas in the south and Nebraska in the north opening new lands for settlement
Their boundaries and limits Kansas and Nebraska were defined
The settlers would decide (popular sovereignty) whether or not to have slavery