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Bleeding Kansas and its impact on the Civil War - Research Paper Example

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Bleeding Kansas was a relatively short-lived, yet bloody series of battles and oppositions that occurred in what had been the Kansas Territory (prior to being admitted to the Union) and neighboring Missouri (already a state in the Union). …
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Bleeding Kansas and its impact on the Civil War
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Download file to see previous pages Settlers in the Kansas Territory were largely abolitionist, believing that slavery had no place in the territory. Missouri, a pro-slave state, argued against the admittance of Kansas as a slave-free state which escalated violence and confrontation between these two radically different regions.
In 1820, the Missouri Compromise was passed, a piece of legislation that was intended to separate the pro-slave South and the anti-slave North. The Missouri Compromise banned the practice of slave ownership in what was then the Louisiana Territory north of the 36°30′ parallel, a line of latitude that now runs through Tennessee and Kentucky. Much of what is now the state of Missouri is above this circle of latitude, which began to fuel contention and opposition nearly immediately after passing the Missouri Compromise. In political and social circles, there was much disagreement that the Missouri Compromise, which served as the first legally-created point of division between pro-slavery and anti-slavery opposition, would ultimately lead to the destruction of the fledgling Union.
Offered Thomas Jefferson in a letter to John Holmes, a renowned U.S. Senator,
“A geographical line, coinciding with a marked principle…once conceived and held up to the angry passions of men, will never be obliterated; and every new irritation will mark it deeper and deeper” (Peterson, 1960, p.548).
The Kansas-Nebraska Act allowed settlers to establish their own governments and determine whether they would be pro- or anti-slave states. Now, in 1854, a new form of resentment and antagonism was building in the nation about the viability and ethical implications of slavery as a future national scenario, a point of controversy that led to the historical situation today referred to as Bleeding Kansas. The Local and National Mechanisms leading to Bleeding Kansas The most notable character fuelling the Bleeding Kansas scenario was U.S. Democratic Senator Stephen A. Douglas (Illinois) who designed and advocated the passing of the Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854. The country, in need of expansion to fuel a growing and incomplete national economy, intended to terminate the Missouri Compromise so as to open new farming lands and ensure development of a more efficient and nationally-connected Transcontinental Railroad. Though a very ambitious piece of legislation, the influence of a democratically-dominant Senate continued to exert the notion of Popular Sovereignty, a belief that individual citizens maintained the right and determination to establish their own form of self-government separate from the Federal system. Stephen A. Douglas understood that many states and territories had well-established social and political sentiment about the viability of engaging in slavery, with a deep and growing division of sentiment that complicated creating relevant laws produced in the nation’s capital. Government representatives were regularly victims of anti-government sentiment during this time period as regardless of whether the government supported or refuted the relevance of slavery, pro- and anti-slavery advocates (abolitionists) continued to apply ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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