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Primary Documents in American History

Kansas-Nebraska Act

Reynolds's Political Map of the United States, 1856
William Reynolds.
Reynolds's Political Map of the United States . . . .
New York: Wm. C. Reynolds, 1856.
Geography and Map Division.

The Kansas-Nebraska Act repealed the Missouri Compromise, allowing slavery in the territory north of the 36° 30´ latitude. Introduced by Senator Stephen Douglas of Illinois, the Kansas-Nebraska Act stipulated that the issue of slavery would be decided by the residents of each territory, a concept known as popular sovereignty. After the bill passed on May 30, 1854, violence erupted in Kansas between pro-slavery and anti-slavery settlers, a prelude to the Civil War.

Library of Congress Web Site | External Web Sites | Selected Bibliography

American Memory Historical Collections

Abraham Lincoln Papers at the Library of Congress

Abraham Lincoln wrote a draft resolution in the Illinois General Assembly on January 4, 1855, concerning the repeal of the Kansas-Nebraska Act. Search Lincoln's Papers using the phrase "Kansas Nebraska" to find additional documents related to the Kansas-Nebraska Act.

The Alfred Whital Stern Collection of Lincolniana

This collection documents the life of Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865) both through writings by and about Lincoln as well as a large body of publications concerning the issues of the times including slavery, the Civil War, Reconstruction, and related topics. It contains eleven items related to the Kansas-Nebraska Act, including newspaper articles and political cartoons.

An American Time Capsule: Three Centuries of Broadsides and Other Printed Ephemera

Contains a broadside from Massachusetts printed in 1854 soliciting support for the anti-slavery settlers in Kansas. Search this collection to locate additional broadsides and printed ephemera on Kansas in the 1850s.

A Century of Lawmaking for a Nation

On May 22, 1854, the House of Representatives passed the Kansas-Nebraska Act by a vote of 113 to 100. The Senate passed the Kansas-Nebraska Act by a vote 35 to 13 on May 25, 1854. The appendix of the Congressional Globe, 33rd Congress, 1st Session, contains the final Senate debate on the Kansas-Nebraska Act.

Search in the 33rd Congress using the phrase "Kansas Nebraska" to find more documents related to the Kansas-Nebraska Act.

The Nineteenth Century in Print

This collection contains a wide variety of Nineteenth Century books and periodicals on the Kansas-Nebraska Act and the conflict in Kansas during the 1850s. For example, speeches by Herman Humphrey and Theodore Parker on the Kansas-Nebraska Act can be viewed in this collection. Search The Nineteenth Century in Print using the word "Kansas" to find additional books and periodicals on this subject.

From Slavery to Freedom: The African-American Pamphlet Collection, 1824-1909

Senator Charles Sumner, a leading opponent of slavery in the Congress, delivered a speech on February 21, 1854, against the Kansas-Nebraska Act.

America's Library

Jump Back in Time: Kansas Entered the Union as a Free State, January 29, 1861.

Today in History

April 23, 1813

U.S. congressman, senator, and presidential candidate Stephen A. Douglas was born in Brandon, Vermont, on April 23, 1813. Douglas sponsored the Kansas-Nebraska Act in 1854.

January 29, 1861

Kansas entered the Union as a free state on January 29, 1861.

Link disclaimerExternal Web Sites

The Kansas-Nebraska Act and the Rise of the Republican party, 1854-1856, Abraham Lincoln Historical Digitization Project, Northern Illinois University

Our Documents, The Kansas-Nebraska Act, National Archives and Records Administration

Territorial Kansas Online, 1854-1861, Kansas State Historical Society and University of Kansas

Selected Bibliography

Etcheson, Nicole. Bleeding Kansas: Contested Liberty in the Civil War Era. Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 2004. [Catalog Record]

Goodrich, Thomas. War to the Knife: Bleeding Kansas, 1854-1861. Mechanicsburg, Pa.: Stackpole Books, 1998. [Catalog Record]

Malin, James C. The Nebraska Question, 1852-1854. Lawrence, Kans., 1953. [Catalog Record]

Wolff, Gerald W. The Kansas-Nebraska Bill: Party, Section, and the Coming of the Civil War. New York: Revisionist Press, 1977. [Catalog Record]

Wunder, John R. and Joann M. Ross. The Nebraska-Kansas Act of 1854. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2008. [Catalog Record]

Younger Readers

McArthur, Debra. The Kansas-Nebraska Act and "Bleeding Kansas" in American History. Berkeley Heights, N.J.: Enslow, 2003. [Catalog Record]

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  March 24, 2014
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