Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Dr. Frederick W. Adrian


On May 30, 1854, Franklin Pierce, President of the United States, signed into law the Kansas-Negraska Act. This act, long famous in American history, had as its purpose the territorial organization of the continental heart of the United States. Pioneering settlement had populated both coastal regions as well as the east central area lying along the great Mississippi River. Between these separated portions of the United States of America stretched the high plains, an area which had been considered unfit for white civilization for over twenty years, and which, as a result, had been given by the federal government to tribes of displaced Indians, to be held by them in perpetuity. By 1853, however, political and commercial necessities had made it clear to a number of powerful legislators in Washington that the area could not berelinquished to the Indian for all time; that it was needed in the federal framework in order to make possible transportation and communication connections between the two coastal sections. The American dream of the Pacific Railroad and, to a lesser degree, of a transcontinental telegraph, were the twin progenitors of teh Kansas-Nebraska Act.


A Thesis Presented to the Graduate Faculty of the Department of History University of Omaha In Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree Master of Arts. Copyright 1961, Nan Viergutz Carson.

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