Lincoln on the Compromise of 1850 and the Kansas-Nebraska Act

The Civil War is often viewed as an inevitable conflict.  Perhaps.  However, it is certain that it was the Kansas-Nebraska Act, the brain child of Stephen A. Douglas, which set in motion the events of the 1850s which led to the rise of both the Republican Party and Abraham Lincoln.  Trying to square the circle, Douglas thought that his concept of “popular sovereignty” was the solution to the slavery question in the territories.  Let the people decide.  What true American could oppose that idea?  This, he thought, would appease both Northern and Democrat factions in his party and lead him inevitably to the Presidency.

Instead, as Bleeding Kansas demonstrated, Douglas merely gave a target for both anti-slavery and pro-slavery forces to fight the question out with violence rather than words. 

Lincoln in his speech on the Kansas-Nebraska Act on October 16, 1854, which may be read here, emphasized how the Compromise of 1850 was thought at the time to end the slavery question: (more…)

Published in: on March 17, 2011 at 5:30 am  Comments Off on Lincoln on the Compromise of 1850 and the Kansas-Nebraska Act  
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