The Kansas-Nebraska Act

The State of Slavery In the United States after 1854
The State of Slavery In the United States after 1854

In 1854, Proposed by Stephan A. Douglas, Congress passed this act in order to organize the remaining territory of the Louisiana Purchase into two territories to be admitted as states. These territories were Kansas and Nebraska. Now the special thing about these new states was that they would be the first states to be allowed popular sovereignty which meant they could choose for themselves whether or not to be a slave state or a free state. This act repealed the Missouri Compromise pf 1820.

Immediately after the act was passed, both pro-slavery and anti-slavery supporters organized into groups and flocked to settle in the new Kansas Territory in order to try to vote it to their side. Pro-Slavery supporters from Missouri or "Border Ruffians" were the first to arrive and they quickly voted themselves into positions of power and voted to make Kansas a slave state in cities such as Leavenworth and Atchison. However the Anti-Slavery supporters, or Free-Soilers, would not stand for that and made their own settlements in Lawrence and Topeka. A Topeka Constitution was drafted and President Franklin Pierce declared the leaders to be "revolutionists" against the rightful leaders of the state.

Bleeding Kansas


John Steuart Curry's mural, Tragic Prelude, depicts abolitionist John Brown during the clash of "Bleeding Kansas". it is also the First Album Cover for the Super Awesome Rock and Roll Band, Kansas.
John Steuart Curry's mural, Tragic Prelude, depicts abolitionist John Brown during the clash of "Bleeding Kansas". it is also the First Album Cover for the Super Awesome Rock and Roll Band, Kansas.
In 1855, Violence first came to Kansas in a virtually bloodless war, the Wakarusa War, in which only a single casualty was recorded. On May 21, 1856, a group of Border Ruffians entered the Free-State stronghold of Lawrence, where they burned the Free State Hotel, destroyed two newspaper offices and their printing presses, and ransacked homes and stores. Then on the next day of May 22, 1856, Congressman Preston Brooks from South Carolina physcally beat senator Charles Sumner with his cane until Sumner was bloody and unconscious. This was all in retaliation to the insults Sumner gave in a speech against Brooks Uncle. Later a Free-Soiler named John Brown came to Kansas thinking he had been chosen by God to fight slavery. Inspired by Brooks attack in Congress, John Brown and a group of Free-Soilers, including four of John Browns own sons, attacked and murdered 5 pro-slavery men on the Night of May 24, 1856. This became known as the Pottawatomie Massacre. The issues in Kansas became known as Bleeding Kansas and would continue for three more years.






In August, thousands of proslavery Southerners formed into armies and marched into Kansas. That same month, Brown and several of his followers engaged 400 proslavery soldiers in the Battle of Osawatomie.
The fighting continued for two more months until John Brown left the territory. A new territorial governor, John Geary, took office and managed to prevail upon both sides for peace. This was a fragile peace broken by intermittent violent outbreaks for two more years. The last major outbreak of violence was touched off by the Marais des Cygnes massacre in 1858, where Border Ruffians killed five Free State men.

All in all about 56 people were killed in Bleeding Kansas and served as a starting ground for the Civil War as both Pro and Anti Slavery supporters start to use violence to get their point heard.