|Territory of Kansas|
|Organized incorporated territory of United States|
|Capital|| Pawnee (provisional; July 2–6, 1855)|
Fort Leavenworth (provisional)
Lawrence (de facto, 1858–1861)
|• Type||Organized incorporated territory|
|May 30 1854|
|January 29 1861|
The Territory of Kansas was an organized incorporated territory of the United States that existed from May 30, 1854, until January 29, 1861, when the eastern portion of the territory was admitted to the Union as the free state of Kansas.
The territory extended from the Missouri border west to the summit of the Rocky Mountains and from the 37th parallel north to the 40th parallel north. Originally part of Missouri Territory, it was unorganized from 1821 to 1854. Much of the eastern region of what is now the State of Colorado was part of Kansas Territory. The Territory of Colorado was created to govern this western region of the former Kansas Territory on February 28, 1861.
The question of whether Kansas was to be a free or a slave state was, according to the Compromise of 1850 and the Kansas–Nebraska Act, to be decided by popular sovereignty, that is, by vote of the Kansans. The question of who were the Kansans who were eligible to vote ended up causing armed conflict, called the Bleeding Kansas period. Both pro-slavery and free-state partisans encouraged and sometimes supported financially emigration to Kansas, so as to influence the vote. During part of the territorial period there were two territorial legislatures, with two constitutions, meeting in two cities (one capital was burned by partisans of the other capital). Two applications for statehood, one free and one slave, were sent to the U.S. Congress. The departure of Southern legislators in January 1861 facilitated Kansas' entry as a free state, later the same month.
From June 4, 1812 until August 10, 1821 the area that would become Kansas Territory 33 years later was part of the Missouri Territory. When Missouri was granted statehood in 1821 the area became unorganized territory and contained little to no permanent white settlement with the exception of Fort Leavenworth. The Fort was established in 1827 by Henry Leavenworth with the 3rd U.S Infantry from St. Louis, Missouri; it is the first permanent European settlement in Kansas.The fort was established as the westernmost outpost of the American military to protect trade along the Santa Fe Trail from Native Americans. The trade came from the East, by land using the Boone's Lick Road, or by water via the Missouri River. This area, called the Boonslick, was located due east in west-central Missouri and was settled by Upland Southerners from Virginia, Kentucky, and Tennessee as early as 1812. Its slave-holding population would contrast with settlers from New England who would eventually arrive in the 1850s.
The land that would become Kansas Territory was considered to be infertile by 19th century American pioneers.It was called the Great American Desert, for it lacked trees and was dryer than land eastward. Technically, it was part of the vast grasslands that make up the North American Great Plains and supported giant herds of American bison. After the invention of the steel plow and more sophisticated irrigation methods the thick prairie soil would be broken for agriculture. By the 1850s immigration pressure was increasing and organization into a Territory was desired.
Kansas Territory was established on May 30, 1854 by the Kansas–Nebraska Act. This act established both the Nebraska Territory and Kansas Territory. The most momentous provision of the Act in effect repealed the Missouri Compromise of 1820 and allowed the settlers of Kansas Territory to determine by popular sovereignty whether Kansas would be a free state or a slave state.
The Act contained thirty-seven sections. The provisions relating to Kansas Territory were embodied in the last eighteen sections. Some of the more notable sections were:
Within a few days after the passage of the Kansas–Nebraska Act, hundreds of Missourians crossed into the adjacent territory, selected a section of land, and then united with fellow-adventurers in a meeting or meetings, intending to establish a pro-slavery preemption upon all this region.
As early as June 10, 1854, the Missourians held a meeting at Salt Creek Valley, a trading post 3 miles (5 km) west from Fort Leavenworth, at which a "Squatter's Claim Association" was organized. They said they were in favor of making Kansas a slave state if it should require half the citizens of Missouri, musket in hand, to emigrate there. According to these emigrants, abolitionists would do well not to stop in Kansas Territory, but keep on up the Missouri River until they reach Nebraska Territory, which was anticipated to be a free state. Before the first arrival of Free-State emigrants from the northern and eastern States, nearly every desirable location along the Missouri River had been claimed by men from western Missouri, by virtue of the preemption laws.
During the long debate that preceded the passage of the Kansas-Nebraska Act, it had become the settled opinion at the North that the only remaining means whereby the territory might yet be rescued from the grasp of the slave power, was in its immediate occupancy and settlement by anti-slavery emigrants from the free states in sufficient numbers to establish free institutions within its borders. The desire to facilitate the colonization of the Territory took practical shape while the bill was still under debate in the United States Congress. The largest organization created for this purpose was the New England Emigrant Aid Company, organized by Eli Thayer.
Emigration from the free states (including Iowa, Ohio, and other Midwestern and New England states), flowed into the territory beginning in 1854. These emigrants were known as Free-Staters. Because Missourians had claimed much of the land closest to the border, the Free-Staters were forced to establish settlements further into Kansas Territory. Among these were Lawrence, Topeka, and Manhattan.
To protect themselves against the encroachments of non-residents, the "Actual Settlers' Association of Kansas Territory" was formed. This association held a meeting on August 12, 1854, the object being the adoption of some regulations that should afford protection to the Free-State settlers, under laws not unlike those adopted by the pro-slavery squatters in the border region east.
The first territorial appointments, looking to the inauguration of a local government, under the provisions of the organic law, were made in June and July 1854. The officers appointed by President Pierce, whose appointments were confirmed by the United States Senate, and who entered upon the duties of their officer. The first governor was Andrew Horatio Reeder (of Easton, Pennsylvania) was appointed June 29, 1854 and removed July 28, 1858.
On March 30, 1855 "Border Ruffians" from Missouri entered Kansas during the territory's first legislative election and voted in a pro-slavery Territorial Legislature. Antislavery candidates prevailed in one election district, the future Riley County.
The first session of the legislature was held in Pawnee, Kansas (within the boundary of modern-day Fort Riley) at the request of Governor Reeder. The two-story stone building still stands and is open to the public as the First Territorial Capitol of Kansas. The building remained as the seat of the legislature for five days from July 2–6, 1855, then moved nearer Missouri to the Shawnee Methodist Mission.
In the election of 1857, free-staters out-voted the pro-slavery settlers in the territory, which meant that the territorial legislature fell into free-state hands.Then, on October 4, 1859, the Wyandotte Constitution was approved in a referendum by a vote of 10,421 to 5,530, and after its approval by the U.S. Congress, Kansas was admitted as a free state on January 29, 1861, shortly after the Southern legislators, who would never have permitted a new free state, had walked out. The last legislative act of the Territorial Legislature was the approval of the charter for the College of the Sisters of Bethany. This was February 2, 1861—four days after James Buchanan signed the act of Congress that officially brought Kansas into the Union.
James H. Lane joined the Free-State movement in 1855 and became president of the Topeka Constitutional Convention, which met from October 23 to November 11, 1855. He was later a leader of "Jayhawkers." The first Free-state mass-meeting was in Lawrence on the evening of June 8, 1855; it was stated that persons from Missouri had invaded and had stolen elections to the legislature of the territory.
It was claimed that some Missourians had used violence toward the persons and property of the inhabitants of the Kansas Territory. It was agreed that Kansas should be a free State and that the stolen election was a gross outrage on the elective franchise and rights of freemen and a violation of the principles of popular sovereignty. Those attending did not feel bound to obey any law of illegitimate legislature enacted and opposed the establishment of slavery. The convention reserved the right to invoke the aid of the Federal government against the lawless course of the slavery propaganda in the territory.
David Rice Atchison was a mid-19th century Democratic United States Senator from Missouri. He served as President pro tempore of the United States Senate for six years. Atchison served as a major general in the Missouri State Militia in 1838 during Missouri's Mormon War and as a Confederate brigadier general during the American Civil War under Major General Sterling Price in the Missouri Home Guard. He is best known for the claim that for 24 hours—Sunday, March 4, 1849 through noon on Monday—he may have been Acting President of the United States. This belief, however, is dismissed by nearly all historians, scholars, and biographers.
The Kansas–Nebraska Act of 1854 was a territorial organic act that created the territories of Kansas and Nebraska. It was drafted by Democratic Senator Stephen A. Douglas, passed by the 33rd United States Congress, and signed into law by President Franklin Pierce. Douglas introduced the bill intending to open up new lands to development and facilitate the construction of a transcontinental railroad, but the Kansas–Nebraska Act is most notable for effectively repealing the Missouri Compromise, stoking national tensions over slavery, and contributing to a series of armed conflicts known as "Bleeding Kansas".
The U.S. state of Kansas, located on the eastern edge of the Great Plains, was the home of nomadic Native American tribes who hunted the vast herds of bison. In around 1450 AD, the Wichita People founded the great city of Etzanoa. The city of Etzanoa was abandoned in around 1700 AD. The region was explored by Spanish conquistadores in the 16th century. It was later explored by French fur trappers who traded with the Native Americans. Most of Kansas became permanently part of the United States in the Louisiana Purchase of 1803. When the area was opened to settlement by the Kansas–Nebraska Act of 1854 it became a battlefield that helped cause the American Civil War. Settlers from North and South came in order to vote slavery down or up. The free state element prevailed.
Bleeding Kansas,Bloody Kansas, or the Border War was a series of violent civil confrontations in Kansas Territory, and to a lesser extent in western Missouri, between 1854 and 1859. It emerged from a political and ideological debate over the legality of slavery in the proposed state of Kansas. The conflict was characterized by years of electoral fraud, raids, assaults, and murders carried out in the Kansas Territory and neighboring Missouri by pro-slavery "Border Ruffians" and anti-slavery "Free-Staters." According to Kansapedia of the Kansas Historical Society, about 56 people were killed during the violence. It has been called a Tragic Prelude, an overture, to the American Civil War which immediately followed it.
The Lecompton Constitution (1859) was the second of four proposed constitutions for the state of Kansas. It never went into effect.
Fort Scott National Historic Site is a historical area under the control of the United States National Park Service in Bourbon County, Kansas, United States. Named after General Winfield Scott, who achieved renown during the Mexican–American War, during the middle of the 19th century the fort served as a military base for US Army action in what was the edge of settlement in 1850. For the next quarter century, it was used as a supply base and to provide security in turbulent areas during the opening of the West to settlement, a period which included Bleeding Kansas and the American Civil War.
During the events leading to the American Civil War, Border Ruffians was the derogatory name for proslavery raiders from the slave state of Missouri, who crossed into Kansas Territory to induce violence that peaked from 1854 to 1858 to force the acceptance of slavery.
The New England Emigrant Aid Company was a transportation company founded in Boston, Massachusetts by activist Eli Thayer in the wake of the Kansas–Nebraska Act, which allowed the population of Kansas Territory to choose whether slavery would be legal. The Company's ultimate purpose was to transport anti-slavery immigrants into the Kansas Territory. The Company believed that if enough anti-slavery immigrants settled en masse in the newly-opened territory, they would be able to shift the balance of political power in the territory, which in turn would lead to Kansas becoming a free state when it eventually joined the United States. The New England Emigrant Aid Company is noted less for its direct impact than for the psychological impact it had on pro-slavery and anti-slavery elements. Thayer's prediction that the Company would eventually be able to send 20,000 immigrants a year never came to fruition, but it spurred Border Ruffians from nearby Missouri, where slavery was legal, to move to Kansas to ensure its admission to the Union as a slave state. That, in turn, further galvanized Free-Staters and enemies of Slave Power.
The Kansas Legislature is the state legislature of the U.S. state of Kansas. It is a bicameral assembly, composed of the lower Kansas House of Representatives, with 125 state representatives, and the upper Kansas Senate, with 40 state senators. Representatives are elected for two-year terms, senators for four-year terms.
Free-Staters was the name given to settlers in Kansas Territory during the "Bleeding Kansas" period in the 1850s who opposed the expansion of slavery. The name derives from the term "free state", that is, a U.S. state without slavery. Many of the "free-staters" joined the Jayhawkers in their fight against slavery and to make Kansas a free state.
Pawnee is a ghost town in Geary County, Kansas, United States, which briefly served as the first official capital of the Kansas Territory in 1855. Pawnee was the territorial capital for exactly five days – the legislature met there from July 2 to July 6 – before legislators voted to move the capital to Shawnee Mission, which is located in present-day Fairway. It may be the shortest-lived capital of any U.S. state or territory.
Andrew Horatio Reeder was the first governor of the Territory of Kansas.
The Nebraska Territorial Legislature was held from January 16, 1855 until 1865 in Omaha City, Nebraska Territory.
The timeline of Kansas details past events that happened in what is present day Kansas. Located on the eastern edge of the Great Plains, the U.S. state of Kansas was the home of sedentary agrarian and hunter-gatherer Native American societies, many of whom hunted American bison. The region first appears in western history in the 16th century at the time of the Spanish conquest of Mexico, when Spanish conquistadores explored the unknown land now known as Kansas. It was later explored by French fur trappers who traded with the Native Americans. It became part of the United States in the Louisiana Purchase of 1803. In the 19th century, the first American explorers designated the area as the "Great American Desert."
The history of slavery in Nebraska is generally seen as short and limited. The issue was contentious for the legislature between the creation of the Nebraska Territory in 1854 and the outbreak of the American Civil War in 1861.
The history of large-scale slavery in the region which later became the State of Missouri began in 1720, when a French merchant named Philippe François Renault brought about 500 enslaved people of African descent from Saint-Domingue up the Mississippi River to work in lead mines in what is now southeastern Missouri and southern Illinois. These people were the first enslaved Africans brought en masse to the middle Mississippi River Valley. Prior to Renault's enterprise, slavery in Missouri under French colonial rule had been practiced on a much smaller scale as compared to elsewhere in the French colonies.
For his nephew of the same name, see Benjamin Franklin Stringfellow (1840-1913)
Lecompton Constitution Hall, also known as Constitution Hall, is a building in Lecompton, Kansas, that played an important role in the long-running Bleeding Kansas crisis over slavery in Kansas. It is operated by the Kansas Historical Society as Constitution Hall State Historic Site.
The present-day state of Nebraska was still a territory of the United States during the American Civil War. It did not achieve statehood until March 1867, two years after the war ended. Nevertheless, Nebraska contributed significantly to the Union war effort.
Samuel Jefferson Jones was a pro-slavery settler who held the position of Douglas County sheriff in Kansas Territory from late 1855 until early 1857. He helped found the territorial capital of Lecompton and played a prominent role in the "Bleeding Kansas" conflict.