Kansas Nebraska Act was it the trigger

atlantis

Sergeant Major
Joined
Nov 12, 2016
Did replacing the compromise of 1850 with the Kansas Nebraska Act trigger the cascade of events that lead to secession an war. Is it possible that the act created a political situation that normal politics could not resolve thus making trial by combat unavoidable. When south Carolina saw the failure to admit Kansas as a slave state did they conclude the K-N Act coupled with election of Lincoln would result in a free west.
 

jackt62

Captain
Joined
Jul 28, 2015
Location
New York City
The passage of Kansas-Nebraska in 1854 was certainly the beginning of the drumbeat towards secession and war in 1860-61. After the 1850 Compromise, many in the south and north believed that the contentious issues revolving around slavery had once again been successfully dealt with, albiet without truly satisfying either side. But at least for a while, it put the lid on the controversy over the disposition of the new lands ceded to the United States after the Mexican War. But that Compromise did not effect the mostly unorganized land that was originally obtained by the United States by the Louisiana Purchase. Supposedly, that region was covered by the 1820 Missouri Compromise, which banned the expansion of slavery above latitude 36°30°. Enter Stephen Douglas, who in the early 1850's desired to organize parts of that region into a territorial entity (Kansas and Nebraska), a necessary step to provide for a government that could develop the area and in particular, promote a cross country railroad. The crux of Douglas' territorial bill would have provided for "popular sovereingty" meaning that the residents of the territory would be free to determine whether slavery would be permitted or not. In effect, that concept threw the Missouri Compromise out the window, and led to a series of bloody encounters in which slaveholder and free soil persons attempted to populate Kansas with enough voters to turn the territory in their respective direction. Ultimately, the Act helped advance the creation of the Republican Party, which was perceived as a direct threat by large southern slave owners to their economic well being.
 

jackt62

Captain
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Jul 28, 2015
Location
New York City
Douglas was still espousing the 'popular sovereignty' for Statehood in the 1860 election wasn't he? It alone had a decisive impact on the break up of parties and helped fuel the animosities that had already been brought to the surface during the Kansas/Nebraska feud.
Lubliner.
That is correct. In fact, his position gained him no favors in either north or south. Northerners opposed popular sovereignty as advancing the expansion of slavery, whereas southerners could not abide any policy that would open the door to free soil. That issue was one of the major reasons that the Democratic Party broke into 2 segments for the 1860 election.
 

American87

Sergeant
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Aug 27, 2016
Location
PENNSYLVANIA
Douglas was still espousing the 'popular sovereignty' for Statehood in the 1860 election wasn't he? It alone had a decisive impact on the break up of parties and helped fuel the animosities that had already been brought to the surface during the Kansas/Nebraska feud.
Lubliner.

By 1860, I believe it was past the point of "Popular Sovereignty." The Breckenridge Democrats wanted to protect slavery in the territories, whereas the Douglas faction pledged to honor Supreme Court decisions on the question of slavery in the territories.
 

DanSBHawk

Captain
Joined
May 8, 2015
Location
Wisconsin
Did replacing the compromise of 1850 with the Kansas Nebraska Act trigger the cascade of events that lead to secession an war. Is it possible that the act created a political situation that normal politics could not resolve thus making trial by combat unavoidable. When south Carolina saw the failure to admit Kansas as a slave state did they conclude the K-N Act coupled with election of Lincoln would result in a free west.
It definitely got Lincoln fired-up enough to re-enter the political arena.
 

American87

Sergeant
Joined
Aug 27, 2016
Location
PENNSYLVANIA
Yes, it was the trigger that set the ball rolling, as it were.

The North felt they had to form the Republican Party to fight it, and we know how that played out. Without Kansas-Nebraska, there very well might have been no Republican Party, or it would have been much weaker at first, and certainly the issue of expanding slavery into the territories wouldn't have existed.

Had the Kansas-Nebraska Act been revoked shortly after passed, the South might have felt a grievance and possibly create a Southern Democrat faction like the Breckenridges anyway.

Of course the revoking of it is a what-if, but its actual passing and maintenance drove the North to form the Republicans and elect Lincoln, which forced the South, as they saw it, to secede, which led to Fort Sumter and war.
 

jackt62

Captain
Joined
Jul 28, 2015
Location
New York City
It wasn't just the Kansas Act that set the nation on the course to war but it certainly started a chain reaction of events that ended up with secession. There was the Dred Scott SCOTUS decision in 1857 that basically opened any state and territory to slavery. President Buchanan supported the pro-slavery LeCompton Constitution that was enacted by slavers who had moved into Kansas territory. And finally, John Brown's failed Harpers Ferry raid in 1859 brought to life, southern fears of a "servile insurrection." All the while, the newly formed Republican Party was taking shape and the election of Lincoln in 1860 represented the last straw for the fire-eater secessionists.
 
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