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Trans-Mississippi Musings

Bleeding Kansas: How Kansas Became a State

Next Scheduled Class - n/a

John BrownIn May 1856, five pro-slavery settlers along Pottawatomie Creek in the Kansas Territory were brutally murdered. Many believed it was the work of John Brown and his followers. When asked about it, John Brown had the following reply:

I do not pretend to say they were not killed by my order; and in doing so I believe I was doing God's service. … I think he has used me as an instrument to kill men; and if I live, I think he will use me as an instrument to kill a good many more.

In the 1850s a mighty struggle took place in the newly formed Kansas Territory. The struggle was between men (and women) who wanted Kansas to enter the United States as a free state and those who wanted Kansas to enter as a state in which slavery was legal. Many folks in these parts believe that the American Civil War actually began in 1854 in the Kansas Territory. Find out why.

Like his Civil War classes, Dick tells the story of Bleeding Kansas using the diaries, letters, speeches, and memoirs of the people who were there.

Instructor: Dick Titterington is an amateur historian who has focused much of his energies on the events that took place in Missouri and Kansas before, during and after the American Civil War.

Course Objectives

    Learn why Kansas Territory became the key battleground between pro-slavery and abolitionist interests

    Learn who the key decision makers were during the events leading to Kansas statehood.

    Learn about the key events that led this period to become known as “Bleeding Kansas.”

Southern Chivalry - Representative Preston Brooks caning Senator Charles Sumner in US Senate chamberPartial List Of Topics

    Constitutional compromises for slaveholders

    The Missouri Compromise of 1820

    The Compromise of 1850

    The Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854

    Kansas Territory settlers

    Territorial elections in 1855

    The Wakarusa War

    Free State Election in 1856

    The Sack of Lawrence

    The Pottawatomie Massacre

    The Battle of Black Jack

    Lane's Army of the North

    The Battle of Osawatomie

    The Lecompton Constitution

    The Leavenworth Constitution

    Troubles in Southeastern Kansas

    The Marais Des Cygnes Massacre

    The Battle of the Spurs

    The Wyandotte Constitution

    Kansas Admitted As 34th State

    How Bloody Was Bleeding Kansas?