Kansas-Nebraska Act

(1854)

The Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854 explicitly repealed the Missouri Compromise of 1820—with its prohibition against slavery in the region—and attempted to settle the question of the expansion of slavery by popular sovereignty, allowing each territory to decide the matter for itself. First reported to the U.S. Congress on January 4 by the Illinois senator Stephen A. Douglas, the Democratic chair of the Senate Committee on Territories and the architect of the measure, the Kansas-Nebraska Act underwent major revisions before its final passage on May 26 and approval by President Franklin...

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This 1856 cartoon depicts the violence that followed the passage of the Kansas-Nebraska Act (Library of Congress)

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