Then, making matters even worse, was the fraud attempted by the proslavery legislature. The legislature drew up the Lecompton Constitution. The document was worded that whether it was voted up or down, slavery in some form was protected. The Free-Soilers saw through the trick. They rushed to vote. As a result, the Lecompton Constitution, with is provisions for slavery, was adopted. But this let loose a new wave of terror in Kansas and provoked new and violent debate in Congress.
To the lasting credit of Stephen Douglas, he refused to support the Lecompton fraud. Douglas insisted on ""fair play"" for Kansas. His opposition cost him the support of the South. Perhaps it cost him the presidency. The debate over the Lecompton Constitution destroyed the Democratic Party, as well. Later, in 1858, the Lecompton Constitution was submitted to a popular vote. The votes of Free-Soilers killed it decisively. Kansas, however, was denied statehood until after 1861, when southern Senators and Representatives left Congress.