Cover

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Frontmatter

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Contents

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List of Maps

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p. viii

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Acknowledgments

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pp. ix-xi

This book would not have happened without the active and generous support of many people. The project began with a recognized void in commemorating the sesquicentennial of the Kansas- Nebraska Act, the actual organic statute that created the Central Plains states of Nebraska and Kansas. To provide a public...

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1. "An Eclipse of the Sun": The Nebraska-Kansas Act in Historical Perspective

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pp. 1-12

On the floor of the U.S. Senate in 1854, Ohio senator Benjamin Wade foresaw doom from the passage of the Nebraska bill. The future Radical Republican proved prophetic. "Tomorrow, I believe, there is to be an eclipse of the sun, and I think that the sun in the heavens and the glory of this republic should both...

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2. The Kansas-Nebraska Act in American Political Culture: The Road to Bladensburg and the Appeal of the Independent Democrats

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pp. 13-46

When the great political historian Roy F. Nichols assessed the state of knowledge about the 1854 Kansas-Nebraska Act at its centennial, he focused on the problem of "process," the first noun in the first sentence of his essay on the subject and a word that appeared several times thereafter.1 By "process" he apparently...

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3. Nebraska and Kansas Territories in American Legal Culture: Territorial Statutory Context

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pp. 47-66

In commemorating the sesquicentennial of the 1854 Kansas- Nebraska Act, it is important to understand not only the events that led to and were caused by its passage but also the very organic act itself.1 This piece of national legislation caused great tension in the halls of Congress before being passed and also great tension...

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4. Stephen A. Douglas and the Kansas-Nebraska Act

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pp. 67-92

Stephen A. Douglas is perhaps best known as Abraham Lincoln's opponent in the celebrated Lincoln-Douglas debates of 1858 that gave Lincoln a national and favorable name. At the time of the debates, Douglas incurred extreme criticism. The most unfavorable drew a parallel between Douglas's middle name...

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5. Lincoln's Fireball: The Kansas-Nebraska Act

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pp. 93-112

On October 16, 1854, the citizens of Peoria, Illinois, and the surrounding countryside indulged themselves in one of their favorite activities: approximately seven hours of political oratory from two very well known speakers. Stephen Douglas began in the midafternoon and spoke for three hours defending his...

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6. Frederick Douglass and the Kansas-Nebraska Act: From Reformer to Revolutionary

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pp. 113-128

The radicalization of Frederick Douglass, a process resulting from his interpretation of key events and leading to his acceptance of armed resistance against slavery, was sealed with the passage of the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 and then the Kansas- Nebraska Act of 1854. In 1843, Douglass faced a mob at Pendleton...

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7. Unpopular Sovereignty: African American Resistance and Reactions to the Kansas-Nebraska Act

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pp. 129-158

On May 1, 1854, Stephen Pembroke and two of his sons made a desperate attempt to escape from bondage. Setting out from the Baltimore plantation owned by Jacob Grove in the middle of the night, they managed to walk all the way to New York City. Although they eluded their pursuers during the course...

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8. Where Popular Sovereignty Worked: Nebraska Territory and the Kansas-Nebraska Act

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pp. 159-181

Like a well-behaved sibling in a family with a wayward child, Nebraska has received less attention than Kansas. Shortly after Congress created the two territories in May 1854, Kansas quickly monopolized the nation's attention with its problems. An early history of Nebraska noted that Illinois senator Stephen...

Appendix: The Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854

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pp. 183-207

Contributors

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pp. 209-211

Index

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pp. 213-220