Bleeding Kansas
Becky Maz, Preeya D'mello, Leah Coppage Gross, Katherine Singh
Bleeding Kansas was a time period in the mid to late 1850’s. It was a time when Kansas was torn between being a free state or a slave state. This conflict was started with the Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854 and led to several outbreaks of violence.

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Stephen Douglasexternal image 21-04.gif

The Kansas-Nebraska act was created by Stephen A. Douglas. He was the chair of the Committee of Territories and he pushed this bill through Congress. He had wanted to expand America. He was a firm believer of Manifest Destiny as well as a pro-slavery advocate. He felt that Native Americans were savages, and Manifest Destiny required these “savages” to be kicked out of their homes. He also supported the expansion of Christianity.
"East by sunrise, West by sunset,
North by the Arctic Expedition,
and South as far as we darn please."
~Stephen A. Douglas

Border Ruffians

Once it was decided that popular sovereignty would be used to determine whether or not the Kansas territory would be a slave state, there was a very strong reaction by both sides of the debate. When the vote was scheduled to take place, there were 2900 citizens registered to vote, but over 6300 votes were cast. Surprisingly, only 790 of those vo tes were against slavery. The reason for this dramatic ratio is due to the so-called "border ruffians".

Violence in Kansas

These border ruffians caused a lot of violence in the Kansas territory. On may 21, 1786 the border ruffians ransacked Lawrence, Kansas. The very next day South Carolina Congressman Preston Brooks attacked Massachusetts Senator Charles Sumner with a cane when Sumner spoke against the “border ruffians’.the

Lecompton Constitution

The situation was resolved soon after President James Buchanan tried to pass the Lecompton Constitution. This was the most important pro-slavery law to be considered. The constitution failed and in 1861 Kansas joined the Union.