How one piece of legislation divided a nation - Ben Labaree, Jr.
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There are numerous good web resources with more information about the sectional crisis of the 1850s and the Kansas-Nebraska Act in particular. National Archives and Library of Congress sites are a good place to start. For example, you can view images of the text of the legislation here.
The Library of Congress provides not only detailed information about the Kansas-Nebraska Act, but also links to related material in their American Memory Collections here.
For an excellent grades 9-12 lesson plan on Douglas' legislation and its consequences, see this site from the National Endowment of the Humanities.
To learn more about how Abraham Lincoln's views on slavery evolved over time, listen to this NPR interview with Columbia University professor Eric Foner.
For an animated map showing the balance between free and slave states and the status of slavery in western territories see here.
Some of the best books on this period in American history are:
Foner, Eric. Free Soil, Free Labor, Free Men: The Ideology of the Republican Party before the Civil War (1970)
Levine, Bruce. Half Slave and Half Free: The Roots of the American Civil War (1992)
Potter, David M. The Impending Crisis, 1848-1861 (1976)
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