This chapter discusses the discovery of the South Pass through the Rocky Mountains and its impact on western expansion. It also looks at the growing sectional divisions over slavery’s expansion, the congressional debate over the route for the first transcontinental railroad, and Stephen Douglas’ efforts to organize the Nebraska territory. The chapter concludes with a discussion of the political feud between Missouri’s two senators, David Rice Atchison and Thomas Hart Benton, and its impact on the future organization of Nebraska.
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