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Kansas Territory was officially established in 1854 with the passage of the Kansas-Nebraska Act. Congressional debate on the act continued discussion of the question of whether or not slavery would be allowed to expand into newly opened territories. The act provided that each territory would decide the issue through the constitution under which it would enter the Union. Kansas Territory, because of its proximity to Missouri, a slave state, became a political and literal battleground for proslavery and antislavery forces. Contested elections, armed conflict, and recruitment of support from settlers with sympathies to the North and the South contributed to the label "Bleeding Kansas." Soon after the creation of the Kansas-Nebraska Act, settlers from both the South, including Missouri, and the North came to Kansas. Many from the South supported slavery or for political reasons wanted Kansas counted among the states that favored slavery. Those from the North generally opposed slavery in Kansas. Election fraud, intimidation, and some violence resulted when the two sides began to contest the territory. Because partisans inside and outside Kansas exaggerated the clash of arms for their own political advantage, the territory gained a violent reputation. The turmoil in Kansas contributed to the growing tension between the North and the South, which eventually led to the outbreak of the Civil War.

Date: 1854

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Kansas Nebraska Act - 1

Item Number: 488
Call Number: FK2.1 KNA *1
KSHS Identifier: DaRT ID: 488

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