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In the 1850s, the United States split over the issue of slavery. Fierce debates erupted over the Fugitive Slave Act, the spread of slavery to the territories, and the Supreme Court’s Dred Scott decision, which proclaimed that Congress had no power to regulate slavery in the territories. Those disagreements boiled over into violence in Kansas, where pro- and antislavery forces fought to determine whether slavery would be allowed there. As the nation entered 1860, it was clear that the divisions would have a huge impact on that fall’s presidential election. What form would that impact take? And how would the result of the election affect the nation in later years?