The Road to Civil War Part 3 Bloodshed in Kansas
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The Road to Civil WarPart 3Bloodshed in Kansas
The Compromise of 1850 didnt end the debate over slavery in the U. S. It was again a key issue as Americans chose their president in 1852.Franklin Pierce DemocratWinfield ScottWhigJohn HaleFree Soil
Franklin Pierce of New Hampshire Our 14th PresidentHe was a northerner, but he sympathized with the South over the slavery issue. He lost his popularity in the north after supporting the Kansas-Nebraska Act.
First Lady Jane Appleton PierceThe Pierces faced many tragedies. Their oldest child only lived 3 days. Their second little boy died at age 4 from Typhus, and their third boy died at age 11, just two months before his dad took the oath of office to become President. Sadly, he was decapitated in a train accident.
The Kansas-Nebraska ActAmericans had hoped the Compromise of 1850 would end the debate over slavery in the western territories.However, more problems arose when the issue of setting up a government for Nebraska was discussed. Nebraska was a huge region that went from Texas to Canada.
He proposed dividing the region into two territories called Nebraska and Kansas.Settlers in each territory would decide the issue of slavery using popular sovereignty.Stephen Douglas, a Senator from Illinois, knew Southerners did not want to add another free state into the union.
Undoing the Missouri CompromiseSome said this was fair because it was to be used in Utah and New Mexico.Others said it was bad because the Missouri Compromise had already banned slavery there.Southerners were in favor of it, because they hoped Kansas would become a slave state.Franklin Pierce, the Democratic president, supported the act, and it passed becoming a law.
Northerners Were FuriousSome northerners were outraged that slavery could now possibly move into areas where it had been banned for more than 30 years. They protested by testing the Fugitive Slave Law. In some cities like Boston, they tried to prevent slave catchers from taking runaway slaves back to the South.
Posters Protesting Slave Catching
In the mid-1850s pro-slavery and anti-slavery forces battled for control of Kansas. One observer described an election day in Kansas:On the morning of the election, before the polls were opened, some 300 or 400 Missourians and others were collected in the yardwhere the election was to be held, armed with bowie-knives, revolvers, and clubs. They said they came to vote, and whip theYankees, and would vote without being sworn. Some said they came to fight, and wanted one.
Kansas Explodes in ViolenceAnti and pro-slavery people rushed into the Kansas region.Many came for the cheap, available land.Pro-slavery forces wanted to make sure the anti-slavery people did not control Kansas.Border Ruffians rode in from Missouri.
Border Ruffians were trouble-makers from Missouri who tried to make sure the territory became slave holding. To this day, there still is a big rivalry between the two states.
In 1855, hundreds of Border Ruffians voted illegally and elected a pro-slavery legislature.They passed laws that supported slavery. One gave the death penalty to people who helped slaves escape.Anti-slavery forces refused to accept these laws and elected their own legislature.
Bleeding KansasIn 1856, pro-slavery forces raided the town of Lawrence, an anti-slavery stronghold. They destroyed homes and smashed a newspaper press.John Brown, an abolitionist, his four sons, and two other men went to a town called Pottawatomie Creek. They drug 5 men out of their beds and murdered them.
John BrownA famous abolitionist
By late in the year 1856, there had been more than 200 people killed in the violence.Newspapers started referring to Kansas as Bleeding Kansas.
Bloodshed in the SenateSenator Charles Sumner of Massachusetts was critical of the situation, and also criticized another senator from South Carolina named Andrew Butler.Butlers nephew, Congressman Preston Brooks, marched into the Senate and beat Senator Sumner with a cane until he fell bloody and unconscious.
Charles Sumner, Andrew Butler, and Preston Brooks
To show support for Congressman Brooks, hundreds of Southerners sent him canes!With congress in such an uproar, many people thought the Supreme Court could help settle the slavery issue and hopefully restore peace.The Supreme Court ended up causing even more contention between the North and the South.
The Dred Scott DecisionDred Scott, a slave, had lived with his owner for many years in Missouri.
Later, he lived in Illinois and Wisconsin where slavery was not allowed.After going back to Missouri, Dreds owner died, but he was still owned by the masters widow. Anti-slavery lawyers helped him file a lawsuit. They argued that because he had lived in free territories where slavery was not permitted, he should be a free man.
Eventually, Dred Scotts case went all the way to the Supreme Court.The Courts ruling shocked many Americans.First, they said Scott should never have been able to sue, because as a black, he was not a citizen.Second, they agreed that slaves were property.
The Court didnt stop there. They went on to say that Congress did not have the authority to outlaw slavery anywhere.Many Southerners were overjoyed. For years they had considered slaves to be property, and wanted slavery to be allowed everywhere.Many northerners were shocked and upset.Tensions become even greater.