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Lecompton Constitution (Boyer, 1995)

Textbook
Paul Boyer, Todd & Curti’s: The American Nation (Austin: Holt, Rinehart, and Winston, 1995), 349.
Meanwhile, events in Kansas continued to boil.  Early in 1857, elections were held to choose delegates for the upcoming constitutional convention.  Suspecting that proslavery forces would rig the elections, the antislavery forces boycotted them.  The constitutional convention, made up of exclusively proslavery delegates, met at Lecompton and drafted a constitution that protected the rights of slaveholders already living in Kansas.  The Lecompton Constitution gave the voters of Kansas the right to decide only whether more slaves would enter the territory. 

Senator Stephen Douglas attacked the Lecompton Constitution, arguing that the voters of Kansas should have the right to decide whether any slaves could enter their territory.  This stand cost Douglas much support among southerners.  Many thought that Douglas was siding with the Republicans in preventing another slave state from entering the Union.  Despite the admission of Kansas as a free state in 1861, Douglas's principle of popular sovereignty had been severely discredited.

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