Popular sovereignty• Stephen Douglas, the Democrat senator from Illinois and champion of the Compromise of 1850, believed that Chicago would be the key city in the growth of the West, just as New York City had been key to the growth of the nation.
Popular sovereignty• He believed that the way to make this happen was the expansion of the railroad through the Great Plains, and so Douglas knew the territories of Kansas and Nebraska needed to become states.
Popular sovereignty•Douglas also saw himself as a future candidate for President and knew that he needed the support of the Southern democrats to make that dream a reality.
Popular sovereignty• Because both Kansas and Nebraska were north of the o 36 30’ line, they would both be admitted to the Union as free states, making the North even more powerful with four new senators.
Popular sovereignty• So, in order to win the support of the South, Douglas proposed the Kansas-Nebraska Act, which re- introduced the idea of popular sovereignty.
Popular sovereignty• Popular sovereignty allowed the people of the territory to decide whether or not slavery would exist in their state when they were ready to apply for admission to the Union.
Popular sovereignty•Douglas knew Southerners would support this principle, as it at least opened the door for the expansion of slavery.
Popular sovereignty• He thought Northerners would support it because they would never think slavery could exist on the Great Plains and, therefore, both territories would vote to
Popular sovereignty• However, reality was quite different, at least in the North, where Douglas was seen as a sell-out, and although the Kansas-Nebraska Act passed, it did so because the loyalty of Democrats to their party leader.
Bad guess• As Douglas worked for the passage of the Kansas- Nebraska Act, he believed that there was no way violence over slavery would ever be a problem there, and could not have been more wrong.
Bad guess•During the summer of 1856, Kansas was called “Bleeding Kansas” for all of the death and destruction that went on over the slave issue.
Bad guess• The violence over Kansas started in Congress when Senator Charles Sumner of Massachusetts was beaten with a cane by Preston Brooks, a representative from South Carolina.
Bad guess• Sumner had spent two days delivering a speech called “The Crime Against Kansas” in which he attacked one of slavery’s leading advocates, Andrew Butler of South Carolina.
Bad guess• Brooks, Butler’s nephew, beat Sumner almost to death, resigned his seat in the House almost immediately, but was just as quickly re-elected and received an enormous number of canes in the process.
Bad guess• Two days after the attack, John Brown, a radical abolitionist who would become more famous in a few years, murdered five pro- slavery advocates at Pottawatomie Creek, which was in retaliation for a pro-slavery attack against anti-slavery settlers.