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Kansas-Nebraska Act (McPherson, 2001)

Textbook
James M. McPherson, Ordeal by Fire: The Civil War and Reconstruction, 3rd ed. (New York: McGraw-Hill, 2001), 98-99.
With energy and skill, Douglas piloted the Kansas-Nebraska through the Senate. He maintained that the Compromise of 1850, by introducing popular sovereignty into the territory north of 36º30´, had implicitly repealed the Missouri Compromise. Although this was a specious argument – the 1850 legislation applied only to territory acquired from Mexico, not the Louisiana Purchase – it was to become Southern and Democratic orthodoxy. Douglas also insisted – as he had in 1850 – that Nature would prevent slavery from gaining a foothold in the new territory…Douglass drove the bill to Senate passage on March 3 by a vote of 37 to 14. Northern Democratic senators voted 14 to 5 for the bill. The struggle in the House was harsher and more prolonged, for Northern Democrats there had to face the voters in November. At one point in the House debate, some congressmen drew weapons, and bloodshed was narrowly avoided. The House finally passed the bill on May 22 by a vote of 113 to 100. Northern Democrats divided 44 to 44 on the measure, a sure sign of trouble for the party in the North. In the combined vote of both houses, Southerners provided 61 percent of the aye votes and Northerners 91 percent of the nay votes. It was clearly a Southern victory, a “triumph of Slavery [and] Aristocracy over Liberty and Republicanism,” in the bitter words of a Northern newspaper.
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