SAT Subject US History Practice Question 652: Answer and Explanation

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Question: 652

3. Why did Stephen Douglas support the idea of Popular Sovereignty when designing the Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854?

A. It guaranteed that "free soilers" could exclude slavery from Kansas and Nebraska.
B. It was outlined in the Constitution as a method for creating new states.
C. It guaranteed that pro-slavery settlers could expand slavery in Kansas.
D. It seemed a fair way to resolve a difficult controversy.
E. It let the Congress decide on slavery in the territories.

Correct Answer: D


Popular Sovereignty was a provision placed in the Kansas-Nebraska Act by Stephen Douglas. Douglas was not concerned with the morality of slavery. Popular Sovereignty seemed democratic and fair because it allowed the citizens of the Kansas and Nebraska Territories to decide by voting whether or not to have slavery in their future states. However, it also repealed the Missouri Compromise line, which had excluded slavery in those lands. It did not let Congress decide on slavery (E). It was not a part of the U.S. Constitution for admitting new states (B). The end result of the Kansas-Nebraska Act might have been either (A) or (C), but there were no guarantees and these were not Douglas's concerns.

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