Unit 8 - PowerPoints

This powerpoint was used with the quiz
“Quiz on BLEEDING KANSAS!” Then,
the students wrote postcards to Missouri
Congressman William Whareton in
Washington D.C. – and then the
responses went to
Mr./Mrs._______________ in Peabody,
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The “Bleeding Kansas” saga started with the
Compromise of 1850, in which several laws Henry Clay
designed attempted to solve the problems of slavery in
the territories following the Mexican-American War.
Because of this compromise, there would be a balance
between the slave states in the South and the free states
in the North. In addition, California would be admitted
into the Union as a free state. Lands west of the Rio
Grande and in the New Mexico Territory would not
have any slave provisions against them, thus instituting
“popular sovereignty,” in which area residents would
vote on the issue of slavery. Also, the slave trade was
banned in the District of Columbia and a stricter
Fugitive Slave Law was passed that required all
American citizens to help to return runaway slaves to
their masters. Senators Stephen Douglas and Daniel
Webster were instrumental in passing the bill.
Senator Henry Clay takes
the floor in the Senate to
discuss the laws in the
Compromise of 1850.
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OF 1854
The Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854 created the territories of Kansas and
Nebraska. It also repealed the Missouri Compromise of 1820, in which
slavery was prohibited north of the 36°30' parallel. It helped to institute the
policy of “popular sovereignty,” which Senator Douglas had supported for a
long time. Douglas had been the chairman of the Senate Committee on
Territories. This measure was offered a method of expanding territories into
the northern and western territories. The residents of the Kansas Territory
and the Nebraska Territory would decide policies on slavery in those
territories. Many thought that an exceptional number of slave owners would
migrate to the Kansas area, though it was too far north to be an ideal
location for slave labor. However, a part of Kansas to the east along the
Missouri River was prime farmland and could be an excellent location for
the use of slave labor. In addition, it was near Missouri, a slave state.
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United States Senator
Stephen Douglas, a
supporter of the KansasNebraska Act of 1854
Creating a state government for Kansas inflamed
political differences. There were many causes of
these differences. Free states such as Iowa and
Illinois bordered the slave state of Missouri.
Although it was a slave state, the majority of the
people in Missouri were not slave owners, and those
who did own slaves did not have many of them.
Still, Missouri did not like the idea that if Kansas
entered the Union as a free state, Missouri would be
surrounded by free states. Missourians viewed this
as a threat because people who opposed slavery
might help Missouri slaves to escape. In the Senate
there was a balance between slave and free states.
The admission of one slave state or one free state
would destroy that balance in the Senate.
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Southerners, particularly slave owners from
Missouri, began to immigrate to the Kansas
Territory. They came to Kansas to vote to ensure
slavery would be allowed in Kansas. Among the
first slavery settlements formed were in
Leavenworth and Atchison. At the same time, there
were anti-slave groups in the North raising funds to
help settlers migrate to Kansas to vote to make
Kansas a free state. These settlers established in
Manhattan, Lawrence, and the eventual capital city
of Topeka. In addition, these settlers were primed
to fight. Abolitionist preacher Henry Ward Beecher
raised funds so men moving to Kansas would be
armed with rifles. These rifles became known as
“Beecher’s Bibles.” More than 1,200 men arrived
and prepared for battle.
Henry Ward Beecher
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Rumors had begin to spread throughout Kansas that 30,000 Northerners
were coming to the region. As a result, the South began preparing a group of
men, the Border Ruffians, who would be prepared to defend the Kansas
Territory. They believed Northerners were attempting to steal the vote to
determine slavery in the region. More than
6,000 votes were cast in the election although
there were only 2,900 legal citizens in the area.
Those in favor of slavery won the election. The
Border Ruffians would pressure the territory’s
first legislature to vote in favor of slavery.
During the first meeting of the legislature in
Pawnee on July 2, 1855, it enacted legislation
Map of the Kansas Territory
to legalize slavery in the Kansas Territory.
Laws were passed after the legislation
adjourned to the Shawnee Mission. This led to
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In August 1855, those opposed to slavery in
the territory met and vowed they would
make sure laws allowing slavery would not
be passed. They also drafted their own laws,
the Topeka Constitution, and formed an
independent government. Two months later
John Brown, an abolitionist, came to the
territory to lead his crusade against slavery.
This led to the Wakarusa War. Brown led a
campaign against those who supported
slavery. President Franklin Pierce
condemned Brown’s actions and stated this
could be considered a revolution against the
government of the Kansas Territory.
Abolitionist John Brown
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The battle between the Border Ruffians and the Free Staters continued as the
Border Ruffians went to Lawrence, Kansas, and destroyed the property of
Free Staters. The next day a skirmish occurred between Congressman
Preston Brooks of South Carolina and Senator Charles Sumner of
Massachusetts on the steps of the United States Capitol Washington, D.C.
Brooks attacked Sumner with a cane after Sumner criticized Southerners
who supported slavery in the Kansas Territory. Sumner suffered injuries that
kept him from the Senate for three years. This was one of the reasons John
Brown started a campaign against pro-slavery forces in Kansas. He first
attacked the Pottawatomie Creek region. Like many of the battles in which
Brown was involved, there was significant violence. Brown and his group
hacked five slavery supporters to death with swords.
Congressman Preston Brooks
attacks Senator Charles
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John Brown continued his attacks, taking
twenty-five pro-slavery people as prisoners at
the Battle of Black Jack. Because of the
attacks, the capital of Kansas was
temporarily moved to Lecompton. In
addition, a three-man group was brought to
the region to investigate the elections
involving the slavery vote. They determined
the Border Ruffians had illegally influenced
the vote. President Pierce, however, ignored
the investigation and continued to recognize
the pro-slavery government in the region.
Pierce was an adamant supporter of the
Site Where John Brown and His Men
region’s government, even sending federal
Won the Battle of Black Jack
troops on July 4, 1856, to disrupt a meeting
of the independent government of the Free
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John W. Geary, the New
Territorial Governor of
In August 1856, Southerners began forming
armies and entering the Kansas Territory.
During this time, Brown and his men battled
approximately four hundred pro-slavery men
during the Battle of Osawatomie that lasted for
two months. By October, Brown departed the
region. Around the same time, the territory
elected John W. Geary as governor. Geary was a
noted peacemaker, helping to quell the tension
between the opposing sides. There were still
instances of violence in the region, including the
Marias des Cygnes Massacre in 1858. During
this battle, five Free Staters were killed. By the
time the battles during the Bleeding Kansas
period ended, fifty-six people had been killed.
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Free Staters drafted the Topeka Constitution, but it
was not the only document drafted at this time. The
regular government of Kansas met in 1857 in a
constitutional convention and eventually drafted
the Lecompton Constitution. The document stated
the needs and necessity for slavery in the territory.
Although abolitionists opposed the document,
President James Buchanan accepted it. Congress
disagreed with Buchanan’s support of the
document and wanted to conduct another election.
Pro-slavery advocates boycotted this election and
allowed the Free Staters to vote and defeat the
Constitution. Eventually, a third constitution, the
Wyandotte Constitution, was drafted. This
document supported freedom in the region. After it
passed (66 to 34 percent vote), Kansas entered the
Union as a free state on January 29, 1861.
President James Buchanan,
An Adamant Supporter of
the Lecompton Constitution
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A slave mother and her child
support John Brown before his
While the matter of Kansas had been settled,
John Brown’s crusade against slavery was
not over. He spent the next few years raising
funds and assembling a group of men who
continued to fight against slavery. On
October 16, 1859, Brown and nineteen
others led an attack at Harpers Ferry, West
Virginia. Brown planned to lead slaves off
their plantations, arm them with weapons,
and add them to his movement. Brown and
his men wreaked havoc, killed four people,
and wounded nine others. Lieutenant
Colonel Robert E. Less led members of
United States Army defeated the attackers.
Two of Brown’s sons were killed. Brown was
imprisoned and later hanged.
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