October 1, 2007

Licoln vs. Douglas 'The Smackdown' Pt. 2

The Lincoln Douglas debates rotated around the concept of slavery and it's expansion, or lack there of, into new territories. Image:Forcing Slavery Freesoilers Throats.jpg
It was Douglas who first helped to instate the Kansas-Nebraska Act which was used to repeal the Missouri Compromise and instead promoted the idea of popular sovereignty. These basically means that first the new territories of Kansas and Nebraska were both established and designated a specific area to occupy. Originally the Missouri Compromise banned slavery in all the former Louisiana Territories, except for Missouri, however the Kansas-Nebraska Act changed that so that the residents of both Kansas and Nebraska can vote and decide if they would like to allow slavery to expand to their territories.

This heated issue was one of the main topics of their debates since Douglas claimed that a democracy must be balanced with the idea of popular sovereignty citing the Compromise of 1850 as his prime example. Lincoln contested this idea by claiming that the national policy was to limit the spread of slavery which started with the Northwest Ordinance of 1787. Between all the legislation that either allows or bans slavery in the different areas and territories it is easy to see how the separation between the free and the slave states only continued to grow as time wore on. The Lincoln-Douglas debates were not what sparked this controversy but they certainly helped bring the controversy into the public spotlight.

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