Slavery or Freedom Forever: What’s at Stake in the Kansas-Nebraska Act? (1854)

Scroll down for the Slavery or "Freedom Forever" issue guide.

In 1854 President Franklin Pierce faced a critical choice, one that would determine the fate of his presidency and have a profound impact on the future of the United States. Should he support the Kansas-Nebraska proposal, which gave local settlers the right to determine whether or not slavery would be permitted? Should he maintain the Missouri Compromise, which banned slavery in these territories? Or, since any decision regarding slavery would have a significant impact the nation’s economic well-being, should practical considerations overrule moral rhetoric? How would you advise President Pierce?

Option One: Remember Our Ideals

Option Two: Affirm Individual Choice

Option Three: Protect Our Prosperity