Paper On Bleeding Kansas

480 words - 2 pages

Jarrett Mohr11-6-14APUSH ProjectBleeding KansasBleeding Kansas was a series of violent political confrontations in the United States involving anti-slavery states and pro-slavery "Border Ruffian" (pro-slavery activists from the slave state of Missouri, who in 1854 to 1860 crossed the state border into Kansas Territory, to force the acceptance of slavery there) elements that took place in the Kansas Territory and the neighboring towns of the state of Missouri between 1854 and 1861. The Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854 called for "popular sovereignty." That means popular and impactful decisions were to be made by the settlers (rather than outsiders). It would be decided by votes or more exactly which side had more votes counted by officials. At the heart of the conflict was the question of whether Kansas would allow or outlaw slavery, and thus enter the Union as a slave state or a free state. Pro-slavery forces said every settler had the right to bring his own property, including slaves, into the territory. Anti-slavery "free soil" forces said the rich slaveholders would buy up all the good farmland and work them with black slaves, leaving little or no opportunity for non-slaveholders. Violent clashes soon occurred as a result of the conflict, one of the most publicized events that occurred in Bleeding Kansas was when on May 21, 1856 when Border Ruffians ransacked Lawrence, Kansas which was known to be a staunch free-state area. One day later, violence occurred on the floor of the U.S. Senate when Congressman Preston Brooks of South Carolina attacked Senator Charles Sumner of Massachusetts with a cane after Sumner spoke out against Southerners responsible for violence in Kansas. Several constitutions for the future state of Kansas were created, some pro- and some anti-slavery. The Lecompton Constitution was the most important pro-slavery Constitution. President James Buchanan actually wanted it to be ratified. However, the Constitution died. Kansas eventually entered the Union in 1861 as a free state. As such, Bleeding Kansas was a proxy war between anti-slavery forces in the North and pro-slavery forces from the South over the issue of slavery in the United States. The term "Bleeding Kansas" was coined by Republican Horace Greeley, editor of the New York Tribune; its violence indicated that compromise was unlikely and thus it presaged the Civil War.

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