Stephen A. Douglas portrait

On March 4, 1854, the U.S. Senate voted to accept the Kansas-Nebraska Act as submitted by Illinois Senator Stephen Douglas.  After two weeks of angry debate, the House of Representatives approved the measure on May 22. Officially entitled “An Act to Organize the Territories of Nebraska and Kansas,” President Franklin Pierce signed the bill into law on May 30, 1854. [Wikimedia Commons]

Kansas-Nebraska Act Facts

May 30, 1854

Key facts about the Kansas-Nebraska Act.

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  • The Kansas-Nebraska Act was enacted on May 30, 1854.
  • The Kansas-Nebraska Act was proposed by Illinois Democratic Senator Stephen A. Douglas.
  • The Kansas-Nebraska Act divided the portion of the Louisiana Purchase that was west of Missouri into two territories, Kansas and Nebraska.
  • The Kansas-Nebraska Act employed the concept of popular sovereignty, allowing people in the territories of Kansas and Nebraska to decide for themselves whether or not to allow slavery within their borders.
  • The Kansas-Nebraska Act repealed the Missouri Compromise.
  • The Kansas-Nebraska Act was generally opposed by people living in the North.
  • The Kansas-Nebraska Act was strongly supported by people living in the South.
  • The Wilmot Proviso was never endorsed by the full Congress.
  • After the enactment of the Kansas-Nebraska Act, violence erupted in “Bleeding Kansas” over the future of slavery in the new territory.
  • The Kansas-Nebraska Act also accelerated a complete realignment of the political landscape in the United States.
  • After the enactment of the Kansas-Nebraska Act, the Democratic Party lost most of its support among Northerners and evolved to become the face of pro-slavery forces in the South.
  • After the enactment of the Kansas-Nebraska Act, the Whig Party ceased to exist in the South and began crumbling in the North, to the extent that an amalgam of disaffected Democrats, abolitionists, and Free Soilers coalesced as the new Republican Party.
  • The enactment of the Kansas-Nebraska Act spurred Abraham Lincoln to re-enter the political arena.
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Citation Information

The following information is provided for citations.

  • Article Title Kansas-Nebraska Act Facts
  • Coverage May 30, 1854
  • Author
  • Website Name American History Central
  • Access Date November 29, 2021
  • Publisher R.Squared Communications, LLC
  • Original Published Date
  • Date of Last Update April 18, 2021