Bleeding Kansas


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  • In the year 1854, Stephen Douglas proposed the idea that the Nebraska territory should be divided into two territories, known as Kansas and Nebraska. He wanted the decision over whether each territory would be slave or free to be made by the people living in these areas.
  • At this time, the nation was very divided, mostly between the North and South, on the topic of slavery. Typically, northerners were against slavery, while southerners advocated for it.
  • Eventually, people from both sides began to move into the Kansas territory in order to vote illegally for Kansas to become a slave or free state through popular sovereignty.
  • The conflict between these two sides turned violent, and something that resembled a mini civil war broke out, as both sides tried to gain control. This period of violence was known as ¨Bleeding Kansas¨, and it lasted from 1855-1861.
  • On this day, January 29, 1861, Kansas is officially declared a member of the Union as a free state.
  • The violence began to die down in the year 1861, when Kansas was finally admitted into the Union as a free state.
  • Bleeding Kansas was significant to the history of the United States because it foreshadowed the Civil War of the 1860s and was an important cause of this war.
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