outraged at the prospect, but a coalition of northern Democrats (who wanted the transcontinental railroad) and southerners (who wanted a maintenance of slavery) passed the Kansas-Nebraska Act by a narrow margin. The Kansas-Nebraska Act was significant because it allowed people in the territories of Kansas and Nebraska to decide for themselves whether or not to allow slavery within their borders. 15. Know-Nothing PartyWho-Native American and American PartyWhat-a political partyWhen-1850sWhere-United StatesSignificance-One of the new parties to arise in the 1850s was the American Party, which built its base of support on anti-immigrant and anti-Catholic sentiment. The American Party was an outgrowth of a secret society called the Order of the Star-Spangled Banner. As a secret society, its members vowed to answer all inquiries about the Order with the
response “I know nothing.” Consequently, the American Party came to be known as the Know-Nothing Party. The Know-Nothing Party was significant because it emerged as a major political party in the form of the American Party.16. Republican PartyWho-republicansWhat-explicitly antislavery party When-1850sWhere-United StatesSignificance-Most of the disaffected Know-Nothing joined another political party that was forming at the time, the Republican Party. Unlike any other party except the Free Soilers, the Republican Party was explicitly antislavery; its main goal was to prevent any further expansion of slavery in the West. Its platform included support for homesteading rights, a protective tariff, and internal improvements-most of the components of the American System. The Republicans succeeded in unifying numerous antislavery groups, including the Free Soilers. They also drew support from northern Whigs and Democrats who were infuriated by the Kansas-Nebraska Act and the idea of popular sovereignty wherein voters from each of those territories would get to decide if they were to become slave states or free states. The Republican Party was significant because it largely dominated the national political scene until 1932.17. Lecompton ConstitutionWho-KansasWhat-a state constitutionWhen-1857Where-KansasSignificance-In June 1857, the people of Kansas elected another set of delegates to a convention in the town of Lecompton. The convention was charged with drawing up a state constitution. People opposed to slavery, however, boycotted the election on the grounds that the voting districts had been drawn so as to make it more difficult for them to elect antislavery representatives. Their boycott ensured that most of the men sent to theconvention supported slavery, and predictably, they created a state constitution that made slavery legal in Kansas. Their constitution was called the Lecompton Constitution. The Lecompton Constitution was significant because it included provisions to protect slaveholding in the state and to exclude free blacks from its bill of rights.