1.) Was Douglas more motivated by means of benefiting the country by proposing an act that would settle the issue of slavery in the Nebraska area or in helping his own political career?
As noted in the approach, Douglas’ true motive for introducing the Kansas-Nebraska has been greatly questioned. Douglas had various alternatives, including filing a bill opening the territory under the terms of the Missouri Compromise. However, was Douglas more interested in true popular sovereignty in the territory or was he trying to find a way to aid his presidential ambitions?
2.) Why did so many slaveholders emigrate to Kansas, without legal protections for slavery, allowing it to become a slave territory?
I believe this question is worth asking because, as noted in the “Why did Douglas introduce the Kansas-Nebraska bill?,” Douglas did not anticipate Kansas becoming a slave state. He believed that slaveholders would not move to the territory because there were not laws established that would protect the institution of slavery.
1) What exactly did the Kansas-Nebraska Act entail? Why was Douglas more confident in this act than the acts he previously worked to ratify through Congress? This question aims to uncover Douglas' motives and what he hoped to achieve through this new act.
2) What right did Douglas have to remove the natives from their land and build railroads where they once lived? Did he find them to be a hinderance to Manifest Destiny and its developments across the country? This question examines Douglas' intentions to develop the West, make travel faster and more efficient, and allow more states to be admitted into the Union. However, it would be interesting to see how Douglas believed that he could remove the natives to implement his own national agenda. Did he possess no heart or conscience?
Rebecca B. asks a variant of Francis's question no. 2 in her first question:
1) Did Douglas have any personal vendettas against the Native Americans? Why did they have to be “removed” completely?
I feel like this is an important question to ask because it seems based on the approaches that he really has a deep feeling for the Native Americans.
2) Why was the line from Missouri so greatly ignored when deciding what California and Utah would be categorized as?
I just would like this issue to be explored a little more. I need a little clarification.
1. I don't get why slavery in the new territories was supposed to be kept out of government? I think that the issue of slavery was huge and most deffinately should have been an issue that was delt with by the government.
2. Why were the people in the North were so upset about the Kansas-Nebraska Act? They did have a free state in California which was below the line.
- I just think that they needed to make some law that was really clear cut because they seemed to make exceptions to everything.
Sarah asks a related question:
Although the intent of the Compromise of 1850 was to keep the issue of slavery in the realm of state politics (and thus out of the national Congress), it was “unpopular in both North and South.” Would it have made more sense, therefore, to allow the issue to be definitively settled by a national decision?
I feel this is an important question to address because it allows for a discussion on the pros and cons of attempting to keep slavery from being addressed at the national level. It is clear from a look back in history that the Civil War was an eruption between the North and the South that was brewing for decades. As far back as the Missouri Compromise in 1820, the national government was effectively dodging the issue by attempting to appease both pro-slavery and anti-slavery proponents. Although it succeeded in tabling the slavery issue for twenty-five years, the agreement was never a permanent solution. The question becomes whether the bloodshed of the Civil War could have been avoided or lessened if the issue had been addressed before it reached the breaking point.
1.) The Kansas-Nebraska set off a race between pro-slavery and free soil partisans. Whichever side could get enough people to win the first territorial election would gain an enormous advantage. Indeed, the first territorial election, marred by gross fraud, did go to the pro-slavery side. Free Soilers refused to accept this election, but the Pierce administration did despite the fact that more votes were cast than there were people in Kansas. Why did the results of the election turn out that way? Was it rigged or just poorly conducted? Also, why did the Pierce administration accept these false results?
-This question is worth asking because it offers insight into the kind of competitiveness there was for both the pro-slavery and anti-slavery voters to win the first territorial election in order to gain an enormous advantage. Also, it infers that the means that some may have used in order to win these elections may have been unjustified. In addition, the fact that the Pierce administration accepted these results makes the entire situation and its legitimacy that more questionable.
2.) When speaking of the Kansas-Nebraska Act and popular sovereignty, Abraham Lincoln pointed out in an October 1854 speech, that an "important objection to this application of the right of self-government is that it enables the first FEW, to deprive the succeeding MANY, of a free exercise of the right of self-government. The first few may get slavery IN, and the subsequent many cannot easily get it OUT." Did Lincoln mean that it was more difficult to repeal a law already in practice than it was to institute one?
-This question is important because it gives the reader further in sight into Abraham Lincoln’s opinions on the Kansas-Nebraska act. Also, being that this Act repealed the Missouri Compromise, wouldn’t this be an example of one appealing a law already in practice?
- Why did Douglas choose to focus more on the “hostile Native Americans” and the “Indian Barrier” than on the sheer difficulty of westward expansion? Why wouldn’t he put more emphasis on developing better transportation and communication to expand the United States’ western empire?’
This is an extremely important question because it speaks to Douglas’ real motives as well as the mind set of the American people at this time. Would they have been more supportive of a bill endeavoring to remove Native Americans as opposed to overtly stating the necessity of improving transportation and communication? Perhaps generally speaking, people associated more money with technological advancements and assumed that “removal” of the Indians would cost very little. Perhaps it was to divert attention away from the pending slavery issue that would arise in the new open territories.
- The Kansas-Nebraska Bill reversed the bipartisan policy of the Missouri Compromise that kept the issue of slavery out of National politics. Did Douglas intend for the bill to have this effect?
This is an interesting question because the act ended up being a major precursor to the civil war. It ultimately divided the country into those who believed that the Missouri Compromise law should still apply and that territories north of the line should still be free states, and those who agreed with Douglas. Allowing the people to choose could offset the entire balance of the country. So what was Douglas hoping to accomplish with this bill? As a result, the northern republicans primarily disagreed and the southern states supported the bill. The country was divided.
Lisa asks a variant of Mindy's first question in her second:
1. It seems as though the government realized quite quickly that the Kansas-Nebraska Act was inadequate in forming a policy for those areas, why wouldn’t government officials immediately search for a different solution to the situation?
After the first election was tallied and resulted in having more votes than citizens, one would think the government could not pass a law either way. After the second election held by all Free Soil people, you would think the government would then realize that the citizens were not able to efficiently and effectively execute the current plan. Just from these two events, it would seem that violence was soon going to be the solution between these two groups of people. It just doesn’t make sense to me, that with an issue so pressing at that time, why the government wouldn’t take more careful and cautious consideration when formulating a plan of action.
2. Why did Douglas and other government figures stress the immediate importance of building a transcontinental railroad, along with water routes and the Oregon Trail when they had no plan as to how to organize the territory?
In the approaches reading, Why Douglas introduced the Kansas-Nebraska Act, it basically states that settlement into the new territory was inevitable, which I agree with, but it could have been gradual or something that happened eventually had the government not pushed for these forms of transportation to the area.
1.) Why did Douglas place more empasis on the Indian Barrier then on making the trip to the West faster?
This is an important question to ask because I dont understand why Douglas wouldn't want to get to the west as fast as possible, it doesn't seem to make sense on why he would want to take time at the Indian Barrier.
2.) Why did free soil partisans declare the actions of the legislature invalid?
This is an important question to ask because I dont understand how the free soil partisans would go so far as to create their own territorial government.
Do you think it was right to wage war on the Free Soilers?
- We should consider how neither side had taken the opposition and that neither side recognized the laws.
“In 1820 the Missouri Compromise provided that all territories north of the southern boundary of Missouri, with the exception of Missouri itself, were to be closed to slavery. The goal, beyond resolving the status of Missouri, was to create an automatic mechanism for determining whether a given territory would be free or slave so that the issue would no longer arise in Congress.”
Was this goal completed under the same circumstances that they wanted?
“The Compromise of 1850 settled this dispute, if only temporarily. It admitted California as a free state, although part of it lay below the Missouri Compromise line. It dealt with the remaining questions over the admission of Texas. It outlawed the slave trade in the District of Columbia, long a demand of anti-slavery activists in the North. It established a new Fugitive Slave law which required state and national officials to cooperate in the recovery and return of escaped slaves. And it bypassed the central issue of slavery in the conquered territory (other than California) by leaving the question to be resolved by the settlers at the time of application for statehood. Since much of this land was known as the Great American Desert, the expectation was that this would be in the distant future. The formula adopted, in other words, continued by other means the policy of putting the question of slavery in the territories off the national agenda.”
What did people think of this compromise? Did they think it was a good/bad idea?
“In the face of such obvious pro-slavery bias, the victors in this second defective election set up their own territorial government. Both territorial governments set about making laws, recording deeds, and writing constitutions. Violence flared episodically and reached a climax of sorts in the "sack" of the free soil capital at Lawrence and the retaliatory Pottawatomie Massacre led by John Brown in May of 1856.”
How was this violence solved? What type of violence occurred?
CJ also asks about the violence in Kansas:
1. How widespread was the violence in Kansas? (In other words, how many people actually died and partook in the "bleeding" after the Kansas-Nebraska Act?)
2. What kind of crop was grown in Kansas that would require slavery like Southern states who needed the slaves for cotton?
1) Why did Stephen Douglas think that the Kansas-Nebraska Act needed to be passed, if the Compromise of 1850 had already been put in place?
It seems odd to me that Douglas would reopen the idea of slavery in different territories.The South gave overwhelming support for the act, because it favored them and their ideas of slavery. It seems like this made everyone take a step back in progress.
2) When tension between the North and South erupted due to the Act, why weren't changes made to make it more agreeable?
The Act set off an immediate race between the free soiler partisans and the pro-slavery population. "Whichever side could get enough people to win the first territorial election would gain an enormous advantage. As Abraham Lincoln pointed out in an October 1854 speech, <http://www.assumption.edu/ahc/Kansas/LincolnKansas-Nebraska.html> an "important objection to this application of the right of self-government is that it enables the first FEW, to deprive the succeeding MANY, of a free exercise of the right of self-government. The first few may get slavery IN, and the subsequent many cannot easily get it OUT." "
This act also led to violence between the pro-slavery advocates and the free solier partisans, resulting in the deaths of many. The reactions to the violence in the North and South were very extreme.
"By so polarizing the sections the Kansas-Nebraska Act may well have made civil war inevitable. At the very least, it hastened the final rupture."
How much of Douglas' decision to support the act was due to his aspirations for higher political offices? It seems as if all reasons Douglas gives for his support are either to benefit his own state or his own political career.
Did Douglas believe Kansas would enter as a slave state? What were his reactions to the John Brown incident?