John White Geary (American National Bibliography)

James A. Rawley, "Geary, John White," American National Biography Online, February 2000,
In July 1856 President Franklin Pierce appointed [John Geary] territorial governor of Kansas. By that date "Bleeding Kansas" had become the nation's most urgent issue, influencing the pending presidential election, as Democrats championed congressional noninterference with slavery and Republicans immediate admission under a free-state constitution, threatening the welfare of Geary's party and nation. Assured of the Pierce administration's support and determined to restore peace, Geary in September reached Kansas, where armed bands roved the territory, terrorizing settlers.

Within a few weeks Geary had substantially restored order, disbanding the proslavery militia, organizing a new one subject to his orders, and averting an attack on Lawrence, threatened by a force of proslavery men. The judicial system was a more difficult problem. The federal judges he deemed negligent and incompetent, the U.S. marshal wanting in courage and energy, the attorney general uncooperative. Geary's troubles with securing justice came to a head when Chief Justice Samuel Lecompte twice freed an accused murderer, the marshal refused to arrest the freed man, the U.S. Senate refused to confirm a judge nominated to replace Lecompte, and Secretary of War William L. Marcy asked that Geary explain his earlier condemnation of Lecompte.
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