Kara WanamakerMr. CritelliUS History I9 March 2020Bleeding Kansas; Major Cause of the Civil WarThe Kansas Nebraska Act of 1854 played a major role in the result of the Civil War. The act was drafted by Democratic Senator Stephen A. Douglas, passed by the thirty-third United States Congress, and signed into law by President Franklin Pierce. Douglas’ goal when he
introduced the bill was to acquire new land and to construct a transcontinental railroad, but it didn’t come that easy and tensions between Northern and Southern states arose.This act brought old fears back to the surface of citizens and opened the door for more fuel to be poured over the fire. It was even more powerful when it was pushed to have Kansas beadmitted as a slave state despite the fact that the majority of those that lived in Kansas opposed slavery. Common sense was less and less being applied as it became a pawn for power. From the Kansas-Nebraska Act, the Dred Scott Decision was also being brought into the situation. In 1857, a slave petitioned the courts for his freedom based on the fact that he lived in a territory forseveral years that did not allow slavery.The full extent of the slavery issue became evident as the Dred Scott decision went beyond saying Scott was still a slave. The Supreme Court’s decision also announced that the “Missouri Compromise’s prohibition of slavery north of thirty-six degrees thirty minutes was unconstitutional.” This meant that all the laws prohibiting slavery in the territories were unconstitutional. The question of Congress’ power came into play. It was more fire as the fear of loss of power again consumed the political leaders and their constituents. Tensions between the North and South were growing. The election of 1860 of Abraham Lincoln to the office of the President of the United States was the final straw for the South. Though Lincoln was willing to compromise with the South, many Northerners refused to go along with him and many Southerners refused to accept it. Many on both sides wanted all or nothing. One of the most memorable and noteable outcomes of the Kansas Nebraska Act was repealing the Missouri Compromise, but also provoking the tension over slavery which contributed to the outcome of Bleeding Kansas, which was also known as a minature Civil War.
The War was fought between Pro-Slavery and Anti-Slavery forces and it lasted for nine years.