Bleeding Kansas

From 1854 through much of 1857, the territory of Kansas was ripped apart by a sporadic guerrilla war that pitted free soiler settlers against pro-slavery "ruffians" as each vied to see who might control the political and economic future of the region.

    Date Event
    - John Brown attacks a proslavery community close to the Pottawatomie Creek in Kansas
    John White Geary officially takes up his position as Territorial Governor of Kansas
    John Brown speaks about Kansas before the Massachusetts legislature’s Committee on Federal Relations
    Kansas voters reject the Lecompton Constitution
    Missouri "border ruffians" murder five freesoilers near Marais des Cygnes in Kansas
    James H. Lane goes on trial for murder in Kansas
    The Kansas Territorial Legislature calls a Convention to frame a State Constitution
    A referendum in Kansas confirms the legislature's call for a constitutional convention
    Kansas elects the delegates for its consitutional convention to be held in July at Wyandotte
    A convention assembles in Wyandotte, Kansas to create a Kansas State Constitution
    - The convention charged with creating a Kansas State Constitution is meeting in Wyandotte, Kansas
    The Wyandotte Convention completes and signs the new Kansas State Constitution
    The Wyandotte Constitution is put to a popular vote in Kansas
    House of Representatives passes the Kansas Statehood Bill and sends it to the Senate
    Former Kansas governor challenges Attorney General of the United States to a duel
    In Topeka, Kansas, John Ritchie shoots and kills U.S. Marshal Leonard Arms during attempted arrest
    Campaigning in Kansas, Senator Seward receives a hero's welcome at Lawrence
    The U. S. Senate votes thirty-six to sixteen to admit free Kansas as the 34th state of the Union
    President Buchanan signs the bill to admit free Kansas as the 34th state of the Union
    Senator James Henry Lane shoots himself in the head near Leavenworth, Kansas.
    Kansas Senator James Henry Lane dies from his self-inflicted wounds.
    George Luther Stearns, leading abolitionist and member of "the Secret Six' dies of pneumonia in New York City.
    Date Title
    New York Herald, “The Kansas Question and the Anti-Slavery Disorganizers,” May 15, 1855
    Abraham Lincoln to Joshua Fry Speed, August 24, 1855
    Louisville (KY) Journal, "Exciting News from Kansas," December 3, 1855
    Charleston (SC) Mercury, "Affairs in Kansas," December 15, 1855
    Richmond (VA) Dispatch, "Important News From Kansas," January 5, 1856
    New York Herald, "Our Boston Correspondance," July 26, 1856
    New York Times, “Affairs in Kansas,” February 9, 1857
    Washington (DC) National Era, “Affairs in Kansas,” February 12, 1857
    New York Times, “The Question of Emancipation in Missouri,” February 14, 1857
    New York Times, “Kansas and the South,” February 25, 1857
    New York Times, “Important from Kansas,” February 27, 1857
    New York Times, “News from Kansas,” March 2, 1857
    Washington (DC) National Era, “Affairs in Kansas,” March 5, 1857
    New York Times, “Massachusetts Legislature,” March 16, 1857
    New York Times, “A Few Words About Kansas,” March 20, 1857
    New York Times, “Farewell Address of Governor Geary,” March 21, 1857
    New York Times, “News from Kansas,” March 24, 1857
    New York Times, “Governor Geary’s Last Interview with Mr. Buchanan,” March 28, 1857
    New York Times, “Robert J. Walker’s Acceptance of the Governship of Kansas,” April 1, 1857
    New York Times, “Slavery in Missouri,” April 9, 1857
    New York Times, “Dissatisfaction at Walker’s Appointment,” April 15, 1857
    Washington (DC) National Era, “Kansas Given Over By The South,” May 14, 1857
    New York Times, “From Kansas,” June 2, 1857
    New York Times, “Affairs in Kansas,” June 12, 1857
    Washington (DC) National Era, “Popular Sovereignty,” June 18, 1857
    New York Times, “Kansas,” June 30, 1857
    New York Times, “Where is the South?,” July 11, 1857
    New York Times, "The New Troubles in Kansas," July 25, 1857
    Washington (DC) National Era, “Kansas News,” July 30, 1857
    New York Times, “Slavery in Kansas,” June 22, 1857
    New York Times, “Mr. Marcy on the Sumner Assault,” September 2, 1857
    New York Times, “News From Kansas,” September 24, 1857
    New York Times, “The Fall Elections,” October 17, 1857
    Washington (DC) National Era, “Collapse of Abolitionists,” October 22, 1857
    Washington (DC) National Era, “Reports of the Kansas Press,” October 29, 1857
    Abraham Lincoln, Fragment of a Speech, circa December 28, 1857
    New York Times, "Kansas Affairs," June 3, 1858
    Ripley (OH) Bee, “Retribution,” November 13, 1858
    New York Times, “Dr. Doy of Kansas,” March 18, 1859
    Atchison (KS) Freedom’s Champion, “Old John Brown,” October 22, 1859
    Richmond (VA) Dispatch, "Northern Impertinences with Regard to the Late Affair at Harpers Ferry," October 24, 1859
    Richmond (VA) Dispatch, “The Madness of Brown,” October 25, 1859
    Lydia Maria Child to John Brown, October 26, 1859
    Carlisle (PA) American Volunteer, "Bleeding Kansas," October 27, 1859
    Carlisle (PA) American Volunteer, "Sketch of Captain John Brown," October 27, 1859
    Baltimore (MD) Sun, "More Harper's Ferry Disclosures," October 28, 1859
    Lawrence (KS) Herald of Freedom, “Old John Brown,” October 29, 1859
    New York Herald, “Political Excitement on the Rise,” October 30, 1859
    Chicago (IL) Press and Tribune, "A Game that Will Not Win," October 31, 1859
    Carlisle (PA) American Volunteer, "Black Republican Ingratitude," November 3, 1859
    New York Times, "The Brown Invasion Transplanted From Kansas," November 5, 1859
    Charleston (SC) Mercury, “The Democratic Party and Old Brown,” November 8, 1859
    John Thomas Lewis Preston to Margaret Junkin Preston, December 2, 1859
    New York Herald, “The Senate and Messrs Hyatt and Howe,” February 25, 1860
    Boston (MA) Liberator, “The Late Homicide in Kansas,” May 4, 1860
    William T. Sherman to Thomas Ewing, Jr., July 22, 1860
    Colonel Charles R. Jennison, Proclamation to the People of Eastern Missouri, November 26, 1861
    Chicago Style Entry Link
    Bridgman, Edward P. and M. M. Quaife. "Bleeding Kansas and the Pottawatomie Murders." Mississippi Valley Historical Review 6, no. 4 (1920): 556-560. View Record
    Connelley, William E. A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans. Chicago: Lewis Publishing Company, 1918 View Record
    Dirck, Brian R. “By the Hand of God: James Montgomery and Redemptive Violence.” Kansas History 27, no. 1-2 (2004): 100-115. View Record
    Etcheson, Nicole. "The Great Principle of Self-Government: Popular Sovereignty and Bleeding Kansas." Kansas History 27, no. 1-2 (2004): 14-29. View Record
    Etcheson, Nicole. Bleeding Kansas: Contested Liberty in the Civil War Era. Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 2004. View Record
    Freehling, William W. The Road to Disunion. Vol. 2, Secessionists Triumphant, 1854-1861. New York: Oxford University Press, 2007. View Record
    Holt, Michael F. The Political Crisis of the 1850s. New York: W W Norton & Company, 1983. View Record
    Miner, Craig. Seeding Civil War: Kansas in the National News, 1854-1858. Lawrence : University Press of Kansas, 2008. View Record
    Mullis, Tony R. Peacekeeping on the Plains: Army Operations in Bleeding Kansas. Columbia: University of Missouri Press, 2004. View Record
    Nevins, Allan. “The Needless Conflict: If Buchanan Had Met the Kansas Problem Firmly He Might Have Avoided Civil War.” American Heritage 7, no. 5 (August 1955): 4-9, 88-90. View Record
    Oates, Stephen B. "To Wash this Land in Blood: John Brown in Kansas." American West 6, no. 4 (1969): 36-41. View Record
    Rawley, James A. Race an Politics: "Bleeding Kansas" and the Coming of the Civil War. Philadelphia/New York: J.B. Lippincott Company, 1969. View Record
    Reynolds, David S.  John Brown, Abolitionist: The Man Who Killed Slavery, Sparked the Civil War, and Seeded Civil Rights. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2005. View Record
    Sanborn, Franklin Benjamin, ed. The Life and Letters of John Brown, Liberator of Kansas, and Martyr of Virginia. Boston: Roberts Brothers, 1885. View Record
    Varon, Elizabeth R. Disunion!: The Coming of the American Civil War, 1789-1859. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2008. View Record
    Watts, Dale. "How Bloody was Bleeding Kansas? Political Killings in Kansas Territory, 1854–1861." Kansas History 18, no. 2 (1995): 116–129. View Record
    How to Cite This Page: "Bleeding Kansas," House Divided: The Civil War Research Engine at Dickinson College,