James Henry Lane (American National Biography)

Mark A. Plummer, "Lane, James Henry," American National Biography Online, February 2000, http://www.anb.org/articles/04/04-00612.html.
When he arrived in Washington to present a memorial to Congress for admission of Kansas as a free state, [James] Lane was rebuffed by [Senator Stephen] Douglas and other Democrats. Lane responded by conducting a speaking tour in Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois on behalf of the Free State movement. Albert Richardson, a contemporary, wrote that Lane's oratory could make "men roar with laughter, or melt into tears, or clench their teeth in passion." During the tour the nation was polarized by reports of violence in "Bleeding Kansas." On 31 May 1856, in Chicago, Lane addressed ten thousand antislavery partisans, who subscribed thousands of dollars toward financing Free State immigration, settlement, and defense. He routed immigrants, arms, and ammunition along the "Lane Trail," which crossed Iowa, thus evading hostile Missourians. Back in Kansas, Lane and his "jayhawking" Free State armed parties terrorized proslavery settlements.

Lane's break with Douglas and the Democratic party was complete when he advocated "Free Territory and Frémont [John C. Frémont]," in the presidential election of 1856. In 1857 Free State adherents boycotted an election of delegates to a constitutional convention at Lecompton, and proslavery forces won a large majority. At Lane's urging, however, the Free State proponents participated in the election for territorial legislators and won. The new legislators commissioned Lane as a major general of militia and ordered a referendum on the proslavery Lecompton constitution, which was rejected.
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