As you learned in this chapter, western expansion forced the nation to address the issue of slavery. To protect their representation in the Senate, many Northern politicians wanted western territories admitted to the Union as free states, while Southern states fought to establish these new territories as slave states. Sectional divisiveness grew as debates over the Missouri Compromise and the Compromise of 1850 intensified, but the conflict over the Kansas-Nebraska Act was especially fierce. Kansas became the first battleground between the nationís pro- and anti-slavery factions. In this activity, you will take a closer look at one event that helped push the nation into civil war.
Destination Title: Bleeding Kansas
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Start at the PBS Web site feature about Bleeding Kansas.
- Scroll down and read the summary of this event.
- At the bottom of the screen, click on Letter from Edward Bridgman. Read the introduction, then choose to Click here for the text of this historical document.
- Return to the main screen. Click on the link James Horton on Bleeding Kansas and read the material.
Use what you have learned to answer the following questions.