Bleeding Kansas

Bleeding Kansas

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  • Hm, maybe I should break the western territories into two and use popular sovereignty to decide whether or not slavery would be allowed.
  • I grant you permission to put Nebraska in the north and Kansas in the south.
  • Let's cross the border and vote illegally so that slavery can be allowed in Kansas!
  • Popular Sovereignty- In 1854, To make the territory into two, Stephen Douglas had to make a deal with Southerners, because he wanted to advance the railroad. He also believed that popular sovereignty would give the right of residents of a given territory to vote on slavery for themselves.
  • Kansas-Nebraska Act- On January 23, 1854, Douglas introduced a bill in Congress. If passed, it would repeal the Missouri Compromise and establish popular sovereignty for both territories. With the help of President Franklin Pierce, the Kansas-Nebraska Act became law in May 1854.
  • Off with their hands!
  • Violence Erupts- By March 1855, Kansas had enough settlers to hold an election for a territorial legislature. However, thousands of “border ruffians” from the slave state of Missouri, led by David Atchison, crossed into Kansas voted illegally. They won a majority by fraud, so they set up a government at Lecompton and discussed proslavery acts.
  • "The Sack of Lawrence"- Antislavery settlers had founded a town named Lawrence. A proslavery grand jury thought that the antislavery settlers were traitors and called on the sheriff to arrest them. On May 21, 1856, a proslavery posse of 800 armed men went into Lawrence to do what was asked. The posse burned down everything that had to do with the antislavery settlers.
  • The Pottawatomie Massacre- The news from Lawrence soon reached John Brown, an abolitionist. He had mistaken that the proslavery posse in Lawrence had killed five men. Brown wanted revenge. On May 24th, he and his followers pulled men from their beds in the proslavery settlement of Pottawatomie Creek, took off their hands, and stabbed them.
  • Bleeding Kansas- The Pottawatomie Massacre triggered dozens of incidents throughout Kansas. Some 200 people were killed. And this became a violent battlefield in the civil war.
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