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Lecompton Constitution (Roark, 2002)

Textbook
James L. Roark, et al., eds., The American Promise: A History of the United States, 2nd ed., vol. 1 (Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2002), 479.
Douglas's response to another crisis in 1857, however, helped shore up his standing with his constituents.  During the previous winter, proslavery forces in Kansas met in the town of Lecompton, drafted a proslavery constitution, and applied for statehood.  Everyone knew that free-soilers outnumbered proslavery settlers by at least two to one but President Buchanan blessed the Lecompton constitution and instructed Congress to admit Kansas at the sixteenth slave state.  Republicans denounced the "Lecompton swindle" Douglas broke with the Democratic administration and came out against the proslavery constitution, not because it accepted slavery but because it violated the democratic requirement of popular sovereignty.  In March 1858, despite Douglas's vigorous opposition, the Senate passed the Kansas statehood bill, but the northern majority in the House killed it. (When Kansans reconsidered the Lecompton constitution in an honest reelection, they rejected it six to one; coming out against the constitution, Douglas declared his independence from the South, and he hoped, made himself acceptable at home.

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