Bleeding Kansas (Tindall, 1999)

George Brown Tindall and David E. Shi, eds., America: A Narrative History, 5th ed., vol. 1 (New York: W. W. Norton and Company, 1999), 698-699.
Finally, confrontation began to slip into conflict. In May 1856 a proslavery mob entered the free-state twon of Lawrence and destroyed newspaper presses, set fire to the free-state governor's private home, stole property that was not nailed down, and trained five cannon on the Free State Hotel, demolishing it. The "sack of Lawrence" resulted in just one casualty, but the excitement aroused a fanatical Free-Soiler named John Brown, who had a history of instability. A companion described him as one "impressed with the idea that God had raised him up on purpose to break the jaws of the wicked." Two days after the sack of Lawrence, Brown set out with rour sons and three other men toward Pottawatomie Creek, site of a proslavery settlement, where they dragged five men from their houses and hacked them to death in front of their screaming families, ostensibly as revenge for the deaths of free-state men. The Pottawatomie Massacre (May 24-25 1856) set off a guerrilla war in the territory that lasted through the fall. On August 30, Missouri ruffians raided the free-state settlement at Osawatomie. They looted the houses, burned them to the ground, and shot John Brown's son Frederick through the heart. The elder Brown, who barely escaped, looked back at the site being devastated by "Satan's legions," and muttered, "God sees it." He then swore to his surviving sons and followers: "I have only a short time to live - only one death to die, and I will die fighting for this cause." Altogether, by the end of 1856 Kansas lost about 200 killed and $2 million in property destroyed during the territorial civil war.
    How to Cite This Page: "Bleeding Kansas (Tindall, 1999)," House Divided: The Civil War Research Engine at Dickinson College,