What Did the Kansas-Nebraska Act Do?


Quick Answer

The Kansas-Nebraska Act allowed the Kansas and Nebraska territories to decide for themselves whether or not to allow slavery within their borders. This congressional act negated the Missouri Compromise of 1820, which did not allow slavery north of 36 degrees 30 minutes latitude.

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Full Answer

Senator Stephen Douglas of Illinois was a major proponent of the Kansas-Nebraska Act. He wanted to establish Nebraska as a northern state, and this act would allow slavery in Kansas to appease the southern states that favored the expansion of slavery. The northern states were enraged that this act allowed territories north of the Missouri Compromise line to vote on slavery. Because of this act's passage, the Whig Party split into northern and southern factions, with the northern Whigs who opposed slavery forming the Republican Party.

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