Kansas Nebraska Act: APUSH Topics to Study for Test Day

Some legislation is more controversial than others. As you review Kansas Nebraska Act APUSH topics for test day, you’ll find that it was one that caused lots of controversy. Here are some things that you should know about this legislation.

What Was the Kansas Nebraska Act?

In order to build the Transcontinental Railroad along a central route, Congressmen wanted to add the Nebraska Territory to the United States. However, they needed to decide whether to make this area a slave state or not.

Stephen A. Douglas, who introduced the act, decided to break the territory into two states: Kansas and Nebraska. Then, the states could decide their laws through voting. Unfortunately, it was highly opposed and led to pro-slavery forces fighting against anti-slavery forces.



What’s the Importance of the Kansas Nebraska Act?

The reason that the Kansas Nebraska Act was so controversial is that it nullified the Missouri Compromise of 1820. This created greater tension between pro-slavery and anti-slavery voters and ultimately led to the Civil War.

Also, the Republican party was organized in response to this act.


  • Stephen A. Douglas- He was a great orator and Illinois Congressman who introduced the Kansas Nebraska Act. Although his motivation was to build the railroad, the act sparked great controversy.
  • Franklin Pierce- He served as the 14th President of the United States. Also, he supported the Kansas-Nebraska Act, which helped pass it as legislation.
  • Border Ruffians- Border Ruffians is the name given to people who lived along the border of Kansas and Nebraska. They terrorized anti-slavery settlers to get them to vote to legalize slavery in their state.
  • Events

  • Missouri Compromise- When this legislation was passed in 1820, it made slavery forbidden in the Louisiana Territory north of latitude line 36-30’. Because Nebraska and Kansas are above this line, the Kansas-Nebraska Act made the Missouri Compromise null and void.
  • Bleeding Kansas- Also referred to as the Kansas Border War, Bleeding Kansas involved pro-slavery forces terrorizing the anti-slavery settlers. This lasted for four years before the anti-slavery forces ultimately won. Unfortunately, these skirmishes led to the Civil War.

Kansas Nebraska Act APUSH Practice Question 1

Who proposed the Kansas Nebraska Act?
a. President Franklin Piece
b. the Republic Party Congressmen
c. Stephen A. Douglas
d. Henry Clay

Answer: C. Stephen A. Douglas was the U.S. Senator from Illinois who proposed the Kansas Nebraska Act. He hoped that this act would help with the creation of the transcontinental railroad. However, the controversy behind the act ultimately led to the Civil War.

Kansas Nebraska Act APUSH Practice Question 2

How did the Kansas Nebraska Act lead to the Civil War?
a. The legislation hurt the Southern economy as it placed high tariffs on products of farmers who owned slaves.
b. It angered slave owners when the act made it illegal to own states in territories west of the Mississippi River.
c. The act added Kansas and Nebraska to the Union, increasing the number of states that were anti-slavery.
d. It led to battles between settlers in Kansas and Nebraska who were pro-slavery and anti-slavery.

Answer: D. The Kansas Nebraska Act allowed these states to determine whether they would be slave states or not. They did this through voting. Because of this, the “Border Ruffians” terrorized anti-slavery settlers, to intimidate them into voting to be a slave state. These battles over the slavery debate eventually led to the Civil War.

Kansas Nebraska Act APUSH Practice Question 3

What act did the Kansas Nebraska Act replace?
a. Confiscation Acts
b. Missouri Compromise
c. Fugitive Slave Laws
d. 3/5 Compromise

Answer: B. The Kansas Nebraska Act replaced the Missouri Compromise. Congress decided that slavery was forbidden past a certain latitude. However, since Kansas and Nebraska are above that latitude, it made the Missouri Compromise null and void.

How did you do with these Kansas Nebraska Act APUSH review questions? As you think about events that led to the Civil War, consider how the Kansas Nebraska Act added to tensions between the states.

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  • Jamie Goodwin

    Jamie graduated from Brigham Young University- Idaho with a degree in English Education. She spent several years teaching and tutoring students at the elementary, high school, and college level. She currently works as a contract writer and curriculum developer for online education courses. In her free time, she enjoys running and spending time with her boys!

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