This thesis examines Stephen A. Douglas and the policy of popular sovereignty between 1848 and 1860, focused on the politics of Illinois, Douglas’s adopted home state. Douglas’s political career was defined by this policy and his consistent support for it. As popular sovereignty entered the discussion of national expansion beginning in 1850, Douglas promoted it as a chief Democratic Party policy. Tied to the policy by party and personal creed, Douglas advocated for enforcement of popular sovereignty. By utilizing the policy, he hoped to keep the slavery discussion out of Congress and settle the debate, expand the United States under his vision of Manifest Destiny, and become a nationally renowned politician, striving towards the presidency. Methodologically, this thesis examines the Illinois constituents Douglas represented, from Adams, Cook, LaSalle, Peoria, St. Clair and Stephenson counties, and how, over the course of the 1850s, Douglas alienated himself from his constituents. With the repeal of the Missouri Compromise in the Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854, Douglas’s Illinois constituents feared the spread of slavery, suspecting Douglas and popular sovereignty a tool for slavery’s expansion. Antislavery sentiment grew among northern Democrats and free soil advocates in Illinois, who utilized political power by preaching an antislavery platform, ultimately making Democrats the minority party in Illinois by 1858. Douglas remained confident that popular sovereignty would produce true democratic equality, although his constituents increasingly denounced it. Stephen Douglas lost popular support among Illinois Democrats after becoming consumed with the national politics of slavery, failing to realize his own constituents no longer supported his policies.
|Advisor:||Roberts, Timothy M.|
|Commitee:||Chamberlin, Ute, Hall, Greg|
|School:||Western Illinois University|
|School Location:||United States -- Illinois|
|Source:||MAI 58/06M(E), Masters Abstracts International|
|Keywords:||Antebellum democrats, Anti-slavery, Illinois, Popular sovereignty, Stephen A. Douglas|
Copyright in each Dissertation and Thesis is retained by the author. All Rights Reserved
The supplemental file or files you are about to download were provided to ProQuest by the author as part of a
dissertation or thesis. The supplemental files are provided "AS IS" without warranty. ProQuest is not responsible for the
content, format or impact on the supplemental file(s) on our system. in some cases, the file type may be unknown or
may be a .exe file. We recommend caution as you open such files.
Copyright of the original materials contained in the supplemental file is retained by the author and your access to the
supplemental files is subject to the ProQuest Terms and Conditions of use.
Depending on the size of the file(s) you are downloading, the system may take some time to download them. Please be