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Word Count: 482
In 1854 Senator Stephen A Douglas of Illinois threw himself behind a legislative scheme that would enlist the support of a reluctant South Douglas was a short heavy-chested figure that radiated energy and breezy optimism of the self-made man He longed to break North-South deadlock and stretch a line of settlements across the continent He had also invested heavily in Chicago real estate and in railway stock and was eager to have the Windy City become the eastern terminus of the proposed Pacific railroad He would thus endear himself to the voters of Illinois benefit his section and enrich his own purse Douglas threw himself behind a legislative scheme that would carve the proposed Territory of Nebraska into two territories Kansas and Nebraska Popular sovereignty would decide if the states would become slave-holding or not Kansas which was west of slave-holding Missouri would presumably become a slave state Nebraska lying west of free-soil Iowa would presumably become a free state However this Kansas-Nebraska scheme conflicted with the Missouri Compromise of 1820 The Missouri Compromise had forbidden slavery in the proposed Nebraska Territory which lay north of the sacred 36 30 line The only way to open the territory up to popular sovereignty was to repeal the Missouri Compromise outright Many southerners who had not conceived of Kansas as a slave state because of the Miss Comp rose to the bait This was their chance to gain one more slave state The indecisive President Pierce at the mercy of his advisors threw his full weight behind the Kansas-Nebraska Bill But the Missouri Compromise now thirty-four years old could not be pushed aside lightly By this time the North had come to regard the sectional pact as almost as sacred as the Constitution itself Free-soil members of congress struck back furiously However they met their match in Douglas who was the ablest rough-and-tumble debator of his generation Using twisted logic and oratorical fireworks he rammed the
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