If newspaper articles at the time are any indication, passage of the Kansas-Nebraska Act in 1854 fueled the expansion of antislavery politics more than almost any other Antebellum event. Stephen Douglas’s backroom deals to help secure Southern support for the act quickly ignited Northern opposition. The decision to allow the Kansas and Nebraska territories to determine their own position on slavery, under the veil of excluding federal oversight, proved to be a fateful one. The Kansas-Nebraska Act dismissed the Missouri Compromise of 1820 (which prohibited slavery above the 36°30’ latitude) and affirmed slaveowners’ rights to demand the return of fugitive slaves.