America in the 1850s


If 1852 was the “year of the book,” then why is the year 1854 so well known?

Two reasons why 1854 became so well known in the annals of the Civil War are as follows. The first has to do with a piece of legislation; the second has to do with an escaped slave.

Illinois’ Senator Stephen A. Douglas (1813–1861) proposed the Kansas-Nebraska Act, which would effectively make the Missouri Compromise outdated. Many historians regard the passage of the Act as a major factor in leading the country into war.


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