|Stephen A. Douglas: A Featured Biography|
Known as the "Little Giant," Illinois senator Stephen A. Douglas (1813-1861) fought for passage of the Compromise of 1850 to preserve the Union and avoid civil war. Douglas then undid his own handiwork by promoting the Kansas-Nebraska Act to enable westward expansion in the young nation. "You cannot fetter the limbs of the young giant," he told the Senate. To Douglas' dismay, the act further divided the nation over the issue of slavery, spurring the creation of the Republican Party and the rise of Abraham Lincoln.