What Is the Principle of Popular Sovereignty?

The principle of popular sovereignty is a method used in the 19th century, which states that the people of a given area create and sustain the power of their government through the representatives the people elect. This was enacted during the Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854, and it was a compromise on the slavery issue that was paramount at the time.

Not only did this policy lead to what was called "Bleeding Kansas" and a fight regarding the legality of slavery, it also laid the groundwork for the Mormon Church to try to use this system to protect its questionable domestic situations. The allowance of popular sovereignty soon became understood to mean that people were allowed to govern themselves as long as their ideals fit with American ones, and they had federal consent.