S. Douglas Speaks on the Kansas-Nebraska Act - Evening Post Newspaper

An oversized newspaper, New York, dated September 8, 1854. An issue of "The Evening Post, Seme-Weekly", Vol. XLV, with coverage of Stephen Douglas's address in Chicago, given on September 1, concerning the Kansas-Nebraska Bill. Headlines include: "The Douglas Meeting at North Market Hall. Five Thousand Persons Present. Douglas's Reception at Chicago" and "The Hon. S.A. Douglas Will Address the People of Chicago on the Principles of the Nebraska Bill at North Market Hall this Evening." The paper also includes coverage of a celebration-turned-riot at Newark, a murder at Great Falls, New Hampshire, an editorial in defense of Daniel Sickles, "No More Slave States", and reports on local and international art, theater, sport, and general news. With numerous advertisements on the back page. 4pp, measuring 24" x 31". Flattened folds and creasing, including edge chipping and a few small holes at the cross folds. Foxing and staining in places. Toned throughout. Signed "CJ Defemen" at the top edge. Overall very good.

Excerpt from Douglas's Speech, from p.2:

"I come before you this evening to explain the provisions of the Kansas-Nebraska bill. (Groans and cheers) I am persuaded that you do not understand it. All the papers in this city have been studiously abusing me since it was passed…You have been told that the bill legislated slavery into territory now free. It does no such thing. (Groans and hisses - with abortive efforts to cheer) As most of you have never read the bill, (groans) I will read you the fourteenth section…It will be seen that the bill leaves the people perfectly free. (Groans, and some cheers) It is perfectly natural for those who have misinterpreted and slandered me to be unwilling to hear me…I know my rights, and though personal violence has been threatened me, I am determined to maintain them. (Much noise and confusion) The principle of the Nebraska bill grants to the people of the territories the right to govern themselves. Who dares deny that right? (A voice - it grants the right to take slavery there, that's all)…"

The Kansas–Nebraska Act of 1854 was drafted by Senator Stephen A. Douglas as a territorial act to organize Kansas and Nebraska as territories, and which left the citizens of each territory to decide whether to be a free or slave state. Known as “popular sovereignty,” the Act's policy contradicted the Missouri Compromise and left the question of slavery open to interpretation by each territory. The passage of the act greatly increased tensions over slavery, leading to several armed conflicts that came to be known as "Bleeding Kansas". The division between pro-slavery and anti-slavery forces resulted in the rise of the anti-slavery Republican Party and was a key factor in the events leading to the American Civil War.

Douglas and Abraham Lincoln vehemently disagreed over the Kansas–Nebraska Act and aired their grievances in seven public speeches during September and October 1854. The speeches would set the stage for the Lincoln-Douglas debates four years later when Lincoln sought to usurp Douglas for Illinois' Senate seat. For his part, Douglas was surprised by the backlash of Northerners, later remembering "I could travel from Boston to Chicago by the light of my own effigy."

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